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Valmet and Fortum: uniform EU-level sustainability criteria for bioenergy

22 February 2016, 14:00 EET

ONLINE NEWS 22 February 2016

Valmet and Fortum want to accelerate the sustainable use of bioenergy and hope the EU will present during the current year a proposal on bioenergy sustainability.

All bioenergy, whether in liquid, solid or gaseous form, needs one set of criteria in order to develop the functioning of the bioenergy market, and to create a level playing field for competition.  The lack of uniform criteria hinders investments into bioenergy and slows the expansion of use of bioenergy. 

Currently, sustainability criteria in energy production are applicable only to bioliquids at the EU-level. Solid and gaseous bioenergy is regulated by a spectrum of partially overlapping national and voluntary sustainability criteria. In February the European Commission launched a consultation regarding bioenergy sustainability. 

Valmet and Fortum share the view that harmonized sustainability criteria would help to increase the predictability and stability of the operating environment and would also help to ensure the functioning of the biomass markets. Only bioenergy that is sustainably produced and used, should be classified as renewable energy and regarded as a zero-emissions energy source in the emissions trading scheme. 

Bioenergy solutions have growth and export potential

Biomass is a renewable fuel that can replace fossil fuels and thus mitigate climate change. As a local fuel, biomass reduces dependency on imported fuels, increases the security of supply of electricity and heat production, and creates employment. Finnish solutions, like the bio-oil and multifuel boilers utilizing biomass, have potential on the export markets. 

The Finnish sustainability system for the wood-based bio-oil, produced at Fortum’s Joensuu CHP power plant using pyrolysis technology that was developed together with Valmet, is currently the only of its kind in the world. The bio-oil producer ensures the verification of the entire supply chain, from the stump to the end user.  Bio-oil has sparked interest in many countries. But exports are slowed by the fact that the Finnish sustainability system is not automatically recognised elsewhere; the sustainability of the bio-oil requires approval by each export country’s authorities.

Fortum aims to reduce emissions from its energy production by increasing the use of renewable fuels in its production. Biomass and other biofuels currently account for about 5% of Fortum’s energy sources, but their use is expected to grow in the future. 

Valmet’s mission is to convert renewable resources into sustainable results. Valmet offers world leading energy solutions and services for especially for biomass based energy production. Additionally Valmet has developed biotechnology solutions e.g. for separating lignin from black liquor in the chemical pulping process, prehydrolysis for the biomass based ethanol production and steam exploded pellet production. Need for resource efficient and integrated solutions is increasing. Clear rules for bioenergy sustainability further the utilization of these solutions.    

Further information:
Carita Ollikainen, Head of Corporate Relations, Valmet, tel. +358 46 921 2437
Kari Kankaanpää, Corporate Relations, Fortum, tel. +358 50 453 2330

Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. Valmet’s vision is to become the global champion in serving its customers. Valmet’s net sales in 2015 were approximately EUR 2.9 billion and it employed about 12.000 professionals around the world. Valmet’s head office is in Espoo, Finland and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

Fortum’s vision is to be the forerunner in clean energy. We provide our customers with electricity, heat and cooling as well as other energy solutions that improve present and future life. Already 64% of our electricity generation is CO2 free. Our main markets are the Nordic and the Baltic countries, Russia, Poland and India. In 2015, we employed some 8,000 energy sector professionals, and our sales were EUR 3.5 billion. Fortum’s share is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki.