Two Wärtsilä BioPower plants to Finnforest sawmills

Wärtsilä Corporation, Press release 4 April 2003 at 11:00 UTC+2

Wärtsilä is to supply two biopower plants for combined heat and power production to Finnforest Corporation’s Vilppula and Renko sawmills. The power plants will be operational during the current year. The Vilppula and Renko sawmills are the largest business units in Finnforest’s Solid Wood division and the Vilppula sawmill is the largest in Europe.

"These orders are an important milestone on our way towards becoming a global supplier of decentralized biopower plants. We are definitely on the right track and the order backlog now looks better than ever. We expect new biopower plant orders quite soon, also elsewhere within the EU," says Jussi Heikkinen, Vice President, Wärtsilä Biopower.

"When it became necessary to resolve the question of energy generation at our Vilppula and Renko sawmills, we considered a number of alternatives. The state subsidy provided by the Ministry of Trade and Industry for biopower plants, coupled with Wärtsilä’s biopower concept based on combined heat and power, supported our decision – building such plants is now an economically feasible option and it also supports the principle of sustainable development," says Markku Kauppinen, Technical Director of Finnforest Corporation.

At the Vilppula sawmill Wärtsilä will build a BioPower 5 plant producing electricity and heat, and a BioEnergy plant producing heat only. Together these plants will produce over 70% of the sawmill’s electricity need and 100% of the heat needed for drying the wood at the sawmill, as well as all the heat needed in the town of Vilppula. The electrical output of the plants is 2.9 MW and the total heat output is 22.5 MW.

The plant at the Renko sawmill, a BioPower 2, will be smaller. It will produce almost all the heat needed in the drying processes at the sawmill and about 50% of the sawmill’s electricity need. The electrical output will be 1.3 MW and heat output 8 MW.

The fuel used in all these plants will be byproducts of the sawing process, primarily bark and sawdust.

The new power plants represent Wärtsilä’s own modularized BioPower concept and are a breakthrough for this type of product in Finland. Other important markets for these products besides Finland and the EU are North America and certain Latin American countries.

Co-operation between Wärtsilä and Finnforest goes all the way back to 1994, when the first plant was delivered to Soinlahti. This was also the first bioenergy plant delivered with BioGrate technology. Today all Wärtsilä bioplants use this patented combustion technology, which is especially suitable for burning extremely wet wood residues, wood chips, bark and sawdust. Since the Soinlahti project Wärtsilä has delivered five more bioenergy plants to Finnforest’s sawmills for producing heat for the drying process.

These new projects are an important step in both Wärtsilä’s and Finnforest’s goal of developing environmentally sound solutions. Finnforest’s policy is to ensure that its products and manufacturing processes are in harmony with the principle of sustainable development.

Wärtsilä is the leading global ship power supplier and a major provider of decentralized power generation systems and of supporting services. In addition Wärtsilä operates a Nordic engineering steel company and manages a substantial holding to support the core business. Wärtsilä’s net sales in 2002 totalled EUR 2.5 billion and the Group has 12,500 employees.

Finnforest Corporation, owned by the Metsäliitto Group, is Europe’s biggest wood group with net sales of EUR 1.8 billion. Finnforest offers product and service packages based on wood to its customers in construction, industry, distribution and the retail sector. Operations are grouped into two industrial divisions: Solid Wood and Engineered Wood. Finnforest operates in over 20 countries. Scandinavian operations are the responsibility of the Norwegian subsidiary Moelven. Finnforest employs over 7,700 people.

Further information:
Mrs Eeva Kainulainen, VP, Corporate Communications, Wärtsilä Corporation, tel. +358 10 709 5235.

Mr Markku Kauppinen, Director, Technology and Energy, Finnforest Corporation, tel. +358 1046 05.