In resource-efficient operations, utilising Metsä Group's by-products and side streams are important. In circular economy, side streams from our pulp mill for example in Rauma are a valuable raw material to bioproduct manufacturers such as pine oil refiner Forchem and organic fertiliser and growing substrates manufacturer Biolan.
300 meters to the southeast of Metsä Fibre's Rauma pulp mill – and we land at Forchem. On the site the tanks read tall oil, which Forchem processes into a variety of chemicals by separating crude tall oil to fatty acids, tall oil rosin, distilled tall oil and pitch.
"Products refined from tall oil can be used in thousands of products, for example paints, car tires, as well as paperboard and paper products. Highly refined tall oil is also used in food products and today, its health effects are also used in animal feed", Forchem's quality manager Mikko Rintola says and continues: "Our products are also a part of consumers' everyday live. For example, in paints tall oil speeds up the drying of the surface."
90% out of Forchem's production is exported to 50 countries.
"Our plant is the world's largest dry distillation unit. Our production is not only of the highest quality but manufactured in accordance with sustainability. In recent years, our customers have been asking more and more about the need for traceability of raw materials", says Rintola.
Forchem is a partner for Metsä Fibre's Rauma pulp mill. Forchem refines tall oil to raw material to thousands of products. On the right is crude tall oil – this is what Metsä Fibre delivers to Forchem for refining.
Organic from circular economy
Biolan's headquarters gives an indication of what and how is made in Eura: the building is made of natural materials and construction practices respect traditions.
"The company's history is based on sustainability and circular economy: operations started when we began looking for smart ways for utilising chicken manure. Thus was born the Biolan chicken manure fertilizer. Today, we compost and handle each year more than 100,000 cubic meters of organic side stream materials into organic bioproducts", Biolan's founder's son and current majority owner Pekka Kariniemi says.
While respecting the traditions and history, it doesn't mean stagnation, as demonstrated by the company's numerous patents in environmental products.
Reed roof and natural rocks make Biolan's head office. In front of the building main owner Pekka Kariniemi (left), product manager Tuomas Pelto-Huikko and products made with Metsä Group's sidestream bark: the consumer favourite Garden Black Mould.
Biolan manufactures growing substrates and fertilizers but also composting and dry toilets. Raw materials for their bioproducts come from several Metsä Group's mills: from Metsä Fibre Rauma, Metsä Board Kyro and Metsä Wood Merikarvia.
"Cooperation with the Kyro mill began some twenty years ago. The cooperation has expanded so that today we are doing a lot of R&D cooperation exploring what kinds of bioproducts could be manufactured from the mill product flows", says product manager Tuomas Pelto-Huikko.
Pelto-Huikko cites as an example, the Garden Black Mould, whose main raw materials is the bark coming from Rauma pulp mill. "Tree bark brings structure to the mould. We have also used Kyro mill's sludge, which brings grain structure, ie air and water retention."
By product development, a raw material from another pulp mill has been obtained to spring fertiliser which Biolan calls circular nutrient – as trends would call it.
"If circular economy is what is needed, then we just need to do it," Kariniemi laughs gently.
Both he and Pelto-Huikko exude will-do attitude and cooperation – best starting point for advancing circular economy.