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Fortum wins award for R&D in sustainable bio-oil production

Fortum has received a special award for innovation from the Global District Energy Climate Awards organisation. The prize was awarded to Fortum for its investment project using fast pyrolysis technology to produce bio oil in connection with existing district heating production and a combined heat and power plant.

Fortum has been developing CHP-integrated fast pyrolysis technology together with Metso Power, UPM and VTT (Technical Research Centre of Finland),and the first commercial plant using this concept is being built in Joensuu, in eastern Finland. The research has been part of TEKES the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation’s Biorefine programme.

The new bio-oil production process will be utilising the existing CHP plant that already provides district heating for the city of Joensuu. This bio oil can be used to replace fossil oil in the production of district heating or industrial heat and steam. Fortum will utilise the oil in its own heat plants in Joensuu and Espoo. That will substantially reduce carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide emissions in the area.

The raw materials used to produce the bio oil in Joensuu will consist of wood-chips and industrial by-products from the local forest industry, and the plant will initially produce around 50 000 tonnes of bio oil every year. The pyrolysis plant in Joensuu will be taken into operation in November of this year.  Fortum has the readiness to add the bio-oil production element to several CHP plants in Finland and other countries.  

The award was received at the 3rd Global District Energy Climate Awards in New York, USA, on the 23rd of September.

"We are very proud to receive this award. It shows that we are on the right track in developing our combined heat and power technology. The Joensuu pyrolysis project is one of the most exciting R&D projects we have in Fortum, and it demonstrates that it is possible to combine profitability with sustainability," says Jukka Heiskanen, Head of R&D at Fortum's Heat division.
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