Major investment in bioenergy in Mariestad

Building a new biopower plant in Metsä Tissue's Katrinefors mill area in Sweden has changed the energy usage not only of the mill, but of the entire town of Mariestad.

The new plant in Mariestad provides 80–90 per cent of the town's annual district heating needs and reduces oil usage at the Metsä Tissue Katrinefors mill by as much as 90 per cent.

"This is a major investment in sustainability," says Mark Watkins, SVP Consumer Nordics in Metsä Tissue. "The new plant reduces fossil emissions and supplies steam to the mill and district heating to the town of Mariestad, as well as green electricity to the grid. At the same time we are reducing costs."

Katrinefors Kraftvärme AB (KKAB), a 50/50 joint venture owned by Metsä Tissue and the local municipal energy company VänerEnergi AB, started operating in the autumn. The plant burns wood-based biomass and recycled wood. The plant is managed by KKAB, but the competence and support of Metsä Group's energy function played a significant role in setting it up.

Mariestad is home to 16,000 inhabitants, who now can access greener district heating. "This is a nice example of being a good neighbour," Watkins says. "Both parties are gaining the benefits."

While at Metsä Group the share of wood-based bioenergy is already high – over 85 per cent of all the fuels used at the mills are wood-based – Mark Watkins says new plans to increase the share of bioenergy are on the way in Sweden. "We are investigating the possibility of setting up a new biomass boiler at Metsä Tissue's Nyboholm mill. We see that it's profitable to invest in a sustainable solution."

In the photo, from left: Mark Watkins, Johan Nilsson, Managing director of Katrinefors Kraftvärme and Peter Lindgren, mill manager and VP Production of Katrinefors mill.