Towards fossil free mills 

Metsä Group’s objective is to use no fossil fuels at all in its production in ten years’ time. This is no easy objective, but we are working to achieve it every day.

Renewable energy plays a key role in Metsä Group’s operations. We produce more than 15 per cent of Finland’s renewable energy. In 2019, 90 per cent of the fuels used in our production were fossil-free – mainly wood-based side streams.

One of our strategic sustainability objectives is that we won’t use any fossil fuels in our production by 2030, due to which we would not generate any fossil-based carbon dioxide emissions either.

“Climate issues are discussed a lot in society. People are generally of the opinion that fossil-based CO2 emissions should be reduced. We at Metsä Group are at the vanguard of this work, given that we aim to zero our fossil emissions,” says Arto Lampinen, SVP, Technology, at Metsä Group.

Energy efficiency lies at the core of everything

Energy efficiency and energy conservation are integral for achieving the objective of Fossil free mills 2030. The more energy we save and the more efficiently we use it, the less emissions we generate.

“We’re also trying to reduce the use of fossil fuels all the time. We’re thinking about whether we could use bio-based fuels instead of fossil fuels’’, says Lampinen.

It is important to be able to use production side streams efficiently. In 2019, most of our bio-based fuels were production side streams, such as sawdust and bark as well as logging residue.

Long-range work – investments play a major role

The journey towards fossil free mills requires long-range planning and continuous work.
‘’We’re planning measures that we’ll be implementing throughout the coming decade. If a mill’s equipment has to be modernised in a matter of four to five years, the modernization will be carried out in such a manner that we can do away with fossil fuels altogether.”

Future investments, such as the potential investment in Kemi and the Rauma sawmill investment, which was decided on in the spring, play a significant role in our journey towards fossil free production. The new mills and production lines are designed to be fossil free.

Given that fossil free production is such a major global goal, the technology making use of fossil free fuels is also developing at a rapid pace.
‘’Even so, we need to consider timeliness and adopt long-range solutions. We have to think about where and when to invest in new technology,” says Lampinen.

Lampinen hopes that we will have the chance to invest, and build new production lines, because that will also allow us to adopt new solutions.
“The efficiency arises from the fact that we can design the entire system to be resource efficient and fossil free from the start.”

Read how Metsä Group works towards fossil free future 

Metsä Fibre took a major step towards fossil free production with the fossil free bioproduct mill at Äänekoski. "Although the mill was built as energy efficient to begin with and although its electricity self-sufficiency rate is more than 240 per cent, we continue to actively improve our energy efficiency'', says Minna Nyman, Development Manager.

Metsä Fibre's other mills are also engaged in continuous development work aiming to improve energy efficiency and achieve fossil free production. "The lime kiln in Joutseno runs on product gas produced from bark. We're progressing towards fossil free production one step at a time throughout Metsä Fibre," says Nyman.

For Metsä Board, the objective of fossil free mills means that the company needs to find alternatives for process fuels and for the oil and peat used in power plants.
“We’ve used liquid or natural gas in the drying of paperboard coating. This is because the use of steam becomes challenging wherever you need temperatures higher than 200 degrees,” says Matti Korhonen, Energy Efficiency Manager.

“Metsä Board has already made investments in energy efficiency, and we’re looking for saving targets and carrying out saving measures on a daily basis. In Simpele mill, we’re trying to reduce the use of peat by a significant degree, thanks to a change in the fuel metering system.”

The production of Metsä Wood’s plywood and Kerto mills is energy intensive. In terms of energy, the pros include production side streams, such as bark, sawdust and sanding dust, which are ideal for energy production.

“At Suolahti, the fuels are our own side streams. Fossil fuels are used only in exceptional situations, such as during maintenance and start-ups. In normal conditions, the energy production is entirely bio-based,” says Jussi Ekman, Development Manager.

The work done at the power plants has been very good. At Punkaharju, the power of the power plant’s bio-boiler has been increased and there has been fairly little use for the standby boiler.

“We’ve worked hard to reduce the use of fossil fuels for a long time now, and our energy efficiency is improving all the time,” says Ekman.


The steam and part of the electricity used by Metsä Tissues’s Mänttä mill are provided by its neighbor. The power plant uses production side streams from Metsä Group’s mills and peat as its energy source. One of the key means by which Metsä Tissue aims to achieve fossil free mills is by abandoning the use of peat.

“As far as technology is concerned, we could already replace peat with wood-based fuel, but for now, the challenge is the availability of wood-based fuel. We could possibly stop using peat in Mänttä as early as next year,” says Kari Karttunen, VP Production at Mänttä mill.

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