Södra makes first delivery of biomethanol in Sweden for biodiesel production

Swedish forest-owner association Södra has made a pilot delivery of biomethanol from the world’s first commercial plant for the sustainable fuel. Customer Emmelev plans to use the biomethanol in its biodiesel production process.

The commercial biomethanol plant, which is based at Södra’s pulp mill in Mönsterås, Sweden, uses forest biomass as feedstock. The company made the decision to invest in such a commercial production facility in 2017.

“It is with pride that we have now started up the first commercial plant in the world for biomethanol,” commented Henrik Brodin, strategic business development manager at Södra. “The transition to a bioeconomy means that all raw materials must be used efficiently. Biomethanol is produced from the crude methanol recovered from the manufacturing process at Södra’s pulp mills. It is part of the circular process that already exists in Södra’s mills, in which all parts of forest products are used for the best possible effect. With this step, we are showing the way to a fossil-free society, and it is fully in line with our own strategy for fossil-free transportation by 2030.”

According to the company, the investment has also broadened Södra’s product portfolio with the addition of a new bioproduct: biomethanol.

Viktor Odenbrink, sales manager at Södra Cell Bioproducts, explained: “More and more people are realising why we need to switch to fossil-free alternatives. That’s why it feels so great that we can bring biomethanol to the market as a substitute for fossil methanol in the transport sector as well as a chemical base. Demand for bio-based products is favourable and we have long experience in delivering other bioproducts to the fuel and chemical industries. As we now continue to build on that, it feels particularly gratifying to have made a first pilot delivery to our customer Emmelev. We are now looking forward to continuing the development of the product together with our customers.”

Danish family-owned agricultural company Emmelev is active in the large-scale production of biodiesel from locally sourced canola, however currently uses fossil-based methanol as a raw material in the production process.

“Biodiesel will play a key role in the transition to a fossil-free Denmark and we are very happy that Swedish biomethanol will now be used in production,” noted Morten Simonsen, co-owner of Emmelev. “Our biodiesel will be 100% renewable and based on locally sourced raw materials. Biodiesel produced from Danish canola and Swedish forests can secure fuel supplies for heavy road transport, as well as buses and construction machinery. This will be crucial for a transformation of the energy sector. We emphasise local and regional production and consider Sweden part of our local area, and we have good relationships with Swedish companies. It therefore feels natural to be entering into an agreement with Södra.”

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