Finnish company KaiCell Fibers completed a technical-commercial feasibility study (FS), mainly delivered by CTS Engtec Oy, and now is ready for the next steps towards making the biorefinery in Paltamo, northeast Finland, a reality.
“We shall now carefully study the FS findings – CEO Jukka Kantola says – and prepare us for Phase II, which will include the EIA (environmental impact assessment) and further developing of novel bio-products within commercial and business structure frameworks. The FS provides an excellent base for this. Land use plan of the mill site will commence shortly, along with many other concrete steps towards our ultimate objectives. The FS-study also serves to advance the financing process, which has been gathering steam during the FS process. KaiCell Fibers Ltd is privately owned and in the process of assembling private capital as base equity for the coming investments. The financial rounds are ongoing.”
Forest lands in the Kainuu region cover over 2 million hectares, or around 8% of Finland’s total forested area. A good quarter of the Kainuu forest is excluded from commercial use. Out of the region’s annual growth (almost 7 M m3) about half are harvested, giving a utilisation rate well below Finland’s national level of close to 60%. It is worth noting that over 90% of Kainuu’s forests are certified, thus ensuring a world- class wood sourcing base for KaiCell Fibers.
At the moment, Kainuu’s fibre wood has to be hauled over long distances to reach industrial users. This translates into increased CO2-emissions from vehicles. “In the spirit of modern bioeconomy thinking, the KaiCell Fibers sourcing model – the company states – takes a different approach, by dimensioning wood consumption around local forest growth within a radius of about 100 km”. Thereby haulage is kept to a minimum, along with emissions. An increase of wood haulage distance from 100 to 300 kilometres grows the carbon footprint by 200%. “It seems self-evident that transporting fresh wood, which is half water, over long distances makes little sense”.
According to Jukka Kantola, “The KaiCell Fibers concept is built firmly on the principles of sustainable development, and brings new ways of thinking to the bioeconomy. Mill operations are sustainably dimensioned around the raw material available in the region, reducing the carbon footprint of transportation. One of our key products will supersede toxics chemical use in major textile producing countries. One significant textile industry group is already engaging with us through a cooperation agreement. Entirely new bio-products are expected to materialise in BioFutureFactory, an innovation park aimed at small to medium sized companies along with institutions, poised to benefit from the mill’s side-streams, utilities and infrastructure. This will create a vibrant flurry of new business activity around the biorefinery in Paltamo.”