The Griffin strikes! Pulp & paper giant UPM taps Renmatix as partner for cost competitive sugars — as it heads for renewable chemicals.
The Digest goes in-depth with UPM and Renmatix, and looks at the realm of supercritical fluids.
Yesterday, news went around the industry like wildfire that UPM and Renmatix have entered into a joint development agreement in the area of biochemicals.
For those less familiar with the giants of the European pulp & paper industry, the Finland-based UPM is right at the top of the stack — the company’s symbol, the griffin, perched atop many of the signature pulp & paper mills around the world.
Some time ago, UPM had set out on an ambitious BioFore strategy with a clear goal of leveraging its strength in aggregation and processing of wood resources into a series of new ventures in biofuels as well as renewable chemicals.
UPM’s BioFore strategy and progress in biorefining
Impressively, and rarely for the cash-strapped pulp & paper sector, they had utilized their balance sheet in developing the world’s first wood-based renewable diesel refinery in Lappeenranta, starting construction last summer. UPM’s Lappeenranta biorefinery, constructed without any public funding, will produce diesel out of crude tall oil, a residue of pulp production. The process is based on hydrotreatment and production will start in summer 2014 — initial capacity in the sub-10 million gallon range but with a potential capacity to expand out to 55 million gallons per year.
In April, we reported that UPM, VTT and VV-Auto Group would start fleet tests of renewable diesel in May. The fleet tests will focus on investigating UPM BioVerno renewable diesel in terms of fuel functionality in engine, emissions and fuel consumption.
The company, in fact, landed a a grant of €170M for a solid wood-based biorefinery (BTL) project in Strasbourg, France — under the EU’s NER300 programme (New Entrants Reserve), funded by the sale of emission allowances to European companies. The final assessment on the investment will be made within 12-18 months.
In today’s Digest, we explore making chemicals vs fuels, look at supercritical technology, why UPM and Renmatix chose each other, the goals of the JDA and timeline to first commercial, future additional partners, and the potential geographies and scale. Plus we look at Green Strategic investing and the Green Premium. All via the page links below.
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