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UPM chooses Rotterdam for construction of biorefinery

Chemcycling Circular economy

The Netherlands – Finland’s UPM already began the basic engineering for an advanced biorefinery last year. At the time, the company had not yet decided on the location – Kotka (Finland) or Rotterdam – but it is now clear that the biorefinery will be located in Rotterdam.

The Finnish company UPM turns waste streams into renewable materials. The products of the planned biorefinery can be used as sustainable aviation fuel, for example. Raw materials are woody biomass, liquid waste and other residual materials. The planned refinery in Rotterdam will have a capacity of 500,000 tons of renewable fuels per year. The Port of Rotterdam Authority has reserved a site on Maasvlakte 2 for UPM.

Late 2023

UPM does not plan to make further decisions on the project before the end of the year. ‘The current investment environment is very challenging for new major projects such as this, in terms of resources, schedules and costs,’ the company said in a press release. Similarly, the construction of a biorefinery in Leuna is already experiencing significant delays due to the pandemic. ‘Disruptions to global supply chains have affected both the availability and cost of critical construction materials. As a result, we are updating our plans and estimate that start-up will occur in late 2023. The estimate of capital expenditures will be updated in due course.’

Year later

UPM still estimated the investment cost for the biorefinery in Leuna at 550 million euros at the end of 2020. It was then expected that it could be started up at the end of 2022. This will now be one year later. The biorefinery in Leuna will have a capacity of 220,000 tons of bioMEG (monoethylene glycol) and lignin-based fillers per year. In addition, the plant will produce bioMPG (monopropylene glycol) and industrial sugars. As a raw material, UPM plans to use beech wood extracted regionally in Germany.

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