New pulp industry investment in Finland/Äänekoski

Today is apparently a day for good news. On the website of Tekniikka&Talous a press release/news item was published concerning a new investment by Metsä Fibre in a so-called next-generation pulp mill, of a value of 1,1 billion Euros, which would make it the biggest single domestic investment in the pulp and paper industry in Finland.

Why is it next-generation? The english press release states:

The new mill will be the world’s first next-generation bio-product mill that can convert wood raw material into a diverse range of products. In addition to high-quality pulp, the mill will produce bio-energy and various bio-materials in a resource-efficient way. A unique bio-economy ecosystem of companies will be built around pulp production.

So this is why it is not presented as a pulp mill but as a bio-product mill: the diversity is an important issue I’d say. This development supports the ideas I have regarding the transformation of the pulp and paper industry (e.g. in the context of the Sulphur Directive: here). This is the kind of innovation Finland needs both in terms of employment (which is estimated at 2500 jobs in the whole value chain) and environmental impact. Finland has very high tech know-how regarding forest industries and more and more it is possible to see off-shoots of the ‘traditional’ paper industry developing into new industries.

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