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Preem and RenFuel create ‘world's first’ lignin plant for biofuels

RenFuel CEO Dick Carrick and Preem CEO Petter Holland (via RenFuel, photo by Fredrik Kron)
RenFuel CEO Dick Carrick and Preem CEO Petter Holland (via RenFuel, photo by Fredrik Kron)

Preem and RenFuel, in collaboration with Rottneros, are constructing what they say is the world's first lignin plant for biofuels. The plant is to produce 25-30,000 tonnes of lignin each year and is expected to be completed by 2021.

The pair is acting through their co-owned company, called Lignolproduktion, to reach the plant’s goal of a production capacity of 300-500,000 tonnes of lignin per year. This objective is dependent on more plants like this being built in the future.

Lignin can be refined into both renewable diesel and renewable gasoline than can be used as a drop-in fuel.

Samples of lignin from Rottnero's pulp mill have already been sent to Renfuel's test facility for the preparation of lignol, which was established with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency. Lignol oil is then taken into Preem's refineries where the raw material is processed into biofuels.

Preem is Sweden's largest fuel company. It processes and sells petrol, diesel, fuel oils and renewable fuels in Sweden and Norway. The company employs more than 1,400 people, 950 of whom work on refineries. Preem's 2017 turnover was SEK 69 billion (€6.7 million).

RenFuel is a Swedish bioenergy company that has patented a catalytic process that converts lignin from by-products in the forest industry into a renewable lignin oil or ‘Lignol’.

RenFuel CEO Dick Carrick and Preem CEO Petter Holland (via RenFuel, photo by Fredrik Kron)