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Friday, 30 September 2022 09:09

Outokumpu plans a significant investment in a biocoke and biomethane plant, aims at reducing climate emissions and increasing self-sufficiency in energy in Finland

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As a part of its ambitious climate actions, Outokumpu is planning an investment in a biocoke and biomethane plant at its stainless-steel production site in Tornio, Finland. This large-scale biocoke project has now proceeded to a phase where Outokumpu is applying for investment support totalling EUR 25 million. If realized, this project would significantly increase self-sufficiency in energy in Finland, and it also has the potential to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 200,000 tonnes per year. This project supports significantly the Finnish and European energy and climate targets for 2030.

“As the global leader in sustainable stainless steel, we actively look for new ways to reduce climate emissions. The new biocoke and biomethane plant would show that it is possible to produce a new raw material from the forest industry waste that is currently burned for low-efficient energy creation purposes. The new raw material, which is called biocoke, could replace the coke that we currently import and that is used as reductant in Outokumpu’s ferrochrome production process. The usage of the forest waste instead of solid wood, like other manufacturers, and the ability to produce a significant amount of biomethane in that process is showing the innovative capabilities of Outokumpu. The production of biomethane is enabling Outokumpu to become more independent of external fossil fuel sources,” says Juha Erkkilä, Outokumpu’s Head of Sustainability.

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Outokumpu’s climate target is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 42% by 2030 from the base year of 2016. This translates to an emission reduction of 14% by the end of 2025 from the 2021 levels, in accordance with the Science-Based Targets initiative’s 1.5 climate target. Outokumpu is the only producer of stainless steel with a climate target approved by the initiative.

“Using biomass-based raw material and biofuels produced from bio-wastes will significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and strengthen the execution of Outokumpu’s sustainability strategy. If realized, the project would strengthen the independence of Outokumpu from fossil fuels and create new job opportunities in the Tornio region. Our target is to make the investment decision in 2023, if the application for investment support is approved. Outokumpu has already started the environmental impact assessment for the project, and the first hearings have been carried out,” continues Erkkilä.

Outokumpu’s biocoke project is a result of the research done in the Towards Carbon Neutral Metals (or TOCANEM) program*, financed by Business Finland. The biocoke project would, if realized, be one of the first new significant industrial investments to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as a result of the TOCANEM program. In the TOCANEM research program, the metal industry and research organizations have together researched possibilities to reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the production of steel and other metals.

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