Metsä Crude Tall Oil (CTO)

Metsä Crude Tall Oil (CTO)

Metsä Crude Tall Oil (CTO)

We are one of the world’s leading producers of wood-based biochemicals. We manufacture Metsä Crude Tall Oil (CTO) from the best quality Nordic wood. This renewable material, which replaces fossil-based materials and fossil fuels, can be used in a wide range of end use applications and industrial processes.

Our CTO is produced sustainably at all of Metsä Fibre’s pulp mills (Joutseno and Rauma) and bioproduct mills (Äänekoski and Kemi) in Finland and at Metsä Board’s mill in Sweden (Husum). Produced from traceable Nordic wood, and having outstanding product characteristics, customers around the world use our tall oil in their own manufacture. At Metsä Fibre, we develop our products in close cooperation with our customers to meet their requirements for end product characteristics and properties.

Tall oil production as a side reaction of pulping

Tall oil production is the procedure of extracting tall oil from wood processing through the kraft process used in the wood pulp and paper industry. In the course of our pulp production, we yield CTO as a bioproduct from a side reaction of wood chips and hot solvents. First, in fibre line, the wood chips are treated with a solution of sodium hydroxide (NaOH) and sodium sulfide (Na2S) to free the cellulose fibres from lignin. The spent mixture of liquid, also known as black liquor containing the dissolved lignin and tall oil, is processed through combustion in a recovery boiler. In this recovery line, the generated heat and steam is used in renewable energy generation as part of our bioenergy production. The recovered tall oil can then be further processed into a variety of fractions and can be refined to remove impurities.

Tall oil is a complex mixture of byproducts from pulping process including fractions of fatty acids and rosin acids, a compound that is obtained from natural rosin extracted from pine trees. Our customers divide our tall oil into four distinct components for use in different industries and end use applications:

  1. Tall oil fatty acids (TOFA)
  2. Tall oil rosins (TOR)
  3. Sterols
  4. Pitch oil and its derivates

Metsä CTO is typically used as a raw material in many industrial applications such as production of adhesives, rubbers, paints, inks and biofuels. It is also used as a binder agent in cement and asphalt, and even in animal feed.

Typical end uses of crude tall oil:

  • Concrete
  • Fuel
  • Lubricants
  • Asphalt
  • Paints
  • Car tyres
  • Adhesives
  • Printing ink
  • Paper and board coatings
  • Tapes and adhesives for stickers
  • Margarine (emulsifiers)
  • Animal feed
  • Detergents and cleaners
  • Soap

Tall oil replacing fossil-based materials

Metsä CTO is a renewable component and has remarkably low carbon emissions. In contrast to many other bio-based raw materials, trees do not require separate land area or take agricultural land away from food production. Forests and wood-based products have the unique ability to bind and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, which makes wood-based Metsä CTO and its derivatives, a competitive sustainable alternative in the biochemical industry. Due to its ability to replace the fossil-based products such as petroleum-based solvents, surfactants, synthetic resins, and fuel additives in many manufacturing processes, our crude tall oil has great potential.

By sustainable forest management and responsible production, Metsä Fibre uses wood raw material resources in a sustainable way. We contribute to the European Union’s circular economy goals, as well as to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).