The builders of the bioproduct mill: The concept of the bioproduct mill opens the field to partners

Metsä Group's bioproduct mill taking shape at Äänekoski is an energy-efficient ecosystem that provides a setting for the operations of various types of businesses.

Although Camilla Wikström, Mill Manager of the bioproduct mill, can look back on several years of managing the existing pulp mill at Äänekoski, she now faces a new challenge.

“Starting up a new facility is different from managing an operational mill. I'd say that I'm continuously on a learning curve, but absolutely thrilled by this unique opportunity,” says Wikström, with a smile.

Äänekoski and the mill area seen from the window of her cabin office have become very familiar to Wikström, who hails from Kristinestad.

“I've worked for Metsä Fibre since 2002. First at the customer interface in various kinds of product development tasks and then, since 2009, as mill manager,” says Wikström, who received her master's in engineering from Åbo Akademi University.
 

Training the personnel for new tasks

Since last autumn, Wikström has worked full-time in the bioproduct mill project. One of her most important tasks before the mill becomes operational is to see to the personnel's training.

“The number of employees is not going to change that much in comparison to what it is now, but the tasks and operating models are.”

The new mill be started up in the third quarter of 2017.

“We have a professional staff, so I'm convinced that we will be successful in this. I myself am enthusiastically looking forward to when we will have the first pulp bale from the new bioproduct mill literally in our hands.”

Camilla Wikström came to her post as Mill Manager of the bioproduct mill from Metsä Fibre's current pulp mill, seen in the background, where she was also the Mill Manager. In addition to the bioproduct mill's operating models, Camilla Wikström is responsible for stakeholder cooperation. Communication with the City of Äänekoski, for example, is frequent. Photos: Metsä Group

Energy-efficiency brought up to a new level

According to Wikström, one of the most important starting points in the design of the bioproduct mill was environmental performance.

“We operate within the emission limits of the current mill's environmental permit. Even though production will more than double, the stress on the waterways will not increase significantly.”

The core of the bioproduct mill's concept is that the mill uses all materials, raw materials and side streams one hundred per cent.

“The mill's energy efficiency will rise to an entirely new level. We will minimise the amount of energy we use, while producing as much of it as possible.”

The mill will produce 1.8 terawatt hours of bioelectricity, which is equal to approximately 2.5 per cent of the entire country's electric power production.

The core of the bioproduct mill's concept is that the mill uses all materials, raw materials and side streams one hundred per cent.

“More than half of the electricity we produce will be sold,” says Wikström.

In addition, the mill will produce product gas and sulphuric acid for its own needs. The tall oil and turpentine, on the other hand, will be sold to paint manufacturers, for example.

“We will also sell part of the bark for energy use.”

 

“Walking on the path of development”

Although the bioproduct mill's concept has been carefully designed, according to Wikström it is far from being complete.

“The concept will live and develop continuously even after the mill is finished. We are walking on the path of development and remain open to new suggestions and ideas.”

The concept will live and develop continuously even after the mill is finished.

The bioproduct mill is concretising a new way of thinking in which the pulp mill is seen as an open ecosystem in which different kinds of businesses produce added value and new products for each other and their customers. One example of the new kind of cooperation is EcoEnergy SF Oy's biogas plant which will use the bioproduct mill's sludge as raw material.

“Future opportunities can be found in textile fibres made from pulp, for example, as well as in biocomposites. The utilisation if lignin also carries potential,” says Wikström.

 

Demand for pulp is growing

Wikström is convinced of the global demand for the main product of the bioproduct mill: softwood and birch pulp made from domestic wood. Whereas the present mill produces some 500,000 tonnes of pulp a year, the new mill will produce 1.3 million tonnes of it.

A significant portion of the pulp will be exported. Demand is growing particularly in China

“A significant portion of the pulp will be exported. Demand is growing particularly in China, where the use of tissue papers is rapidly becoming more widespread as the standard of living rises. The consumption of packaging boards also continues to rise, due to online stores, among other things,” says Wikström.

Living with her family in Palokka, Jyväskylä, Camilla Wikström insists that work issues usually fade away during the half-hour drive home. “At work, I'm dealing with the challenges of the bioproduct mill, while at home I deal with the challenges presented by two teenagers,” says Wikström with a laugh.

Camilla Wikström (46)
Place of residence: Jyväskylä.
Job: Bioproduct Mill Manager.
Career: Before the bioproduct mill project, worked as the Mill Manager of Metsä Fibre's Äänekoski mill since 2009, and in various product development tasks at Metsä Fibre since 2002. Before that, Wikström was in the service of a chemicals supplier.
Education: M.Sc. (Eng.)
Family: Husband and two teenagers.
Hobbies: Spending time at her summer cottage, jogging and cooking. Reads a lot, most recently a detective novel by Anna Jansson.

 

The builders of the bioproduct mill is a series of articles that introduces readers to the people bringing the next-generation bioproduct mill to life and describing their work in the biggest investment in the history of the Finnish forest industry. The builders of the bioproduct mill will be published on our website at www.bioproductmill.com during 2016. This is the last article of the series. 

Project Director Timo Merikallio was intervieweed in the first article and after that Construction Manager Pekka Salomaa, Project Coordinator Juha Pesonen, Project Services Director Ossi Puromäki, Technical Director Pertti Lehmonen, Fibre Line Project Manager Kari Koskinen and Recovery Line Project Manager Jukka Kiuru and environmental manager Sari Tupitsa have described their work.

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