Our history of intelligently studying and using wood biomass is moving us towards emission-free transport. Innovative wood-based biofuels and our production methods are part of a sustainable future.
From spools to renewable fuels
The UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery is on the historic Kaukas industrial estate in Southeast Finland, where operations began with the manufacture of birch wood spools in 1892.
The Biofore concept whereby UPM seeks to use wood-based biomass with optimal efficiency, versatility and intelligence was already evident more than 120 years ago. Turning of spools produced large quantities of wood shavings, and someone came up with the idea of using these for making cellulose pulp. Even in those days no wood was wasted.
Manufacturing continued until 1972 when the wooden product was finally replaced by spools made of plastic: a fossil raw material.
The current development brings this evolution full circle, with our biorefinery now using tall oil from pulp production as a raw material for making renewable diesel and naphtha, which are replacing fossil fuels.
Making forest industry history
Over 100 years of innovation in wood
A long history at the forefront of the forest industry
We have a long and varied history as forest industry leaders, launching pulp production in the 1870s and soon diversifying into papermaking and international operations. UPM currently operates more than 50 industrial plants in various parts of the world.
The advent of biofuels
First generation biodiesels emerge at the beginning of the 21st century. Made from raw materials that are also suitable as foodstuffs, they are the most widely used biofuels in Europe. Motorists are unsure of whether the various biofuels are suitable for their engines, and automobile manufacturers ponder whether it would be worthwhile adapting engines to use them.
UPM publishes a strategy seeking new growth-oriented business operations. Developing second generation advanced biofuels is one of these ambitions. Large quantities of tall oil are extracted as a residue of pulp production, and in-house research begins to examine its suitability as a raw material for making biofuels. This leads to innovations and new technology for refining renewable diesel from crude tall oil.
Construction work begins on the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery
UPM begins constructing a new biorefinery in Lappeenranta, southeast Finland, to make 120 million litres of renewable diesel annually. At the same time, the European Union studies the greenhouse gas emissions of first generation biodiesel and decides that legislation must be amended to favour advanced biofuels.
Production of renewable UPM BioVerno begins
The company begins producing and selling UPM BioVerno in Finland. A genuine automotive fuel in its own right, UPM BioVerno is suitable for all diesel engines. The sustainability certifications of UPM help to convince end-users, distributors and legislators of the substantial cuts in greenhouse gas emissions that can be achieved by using UPM BioVerno, which wins the Sustainable Energy Europe Award and the Commercial Scale Plant of the Year Award.
A growing sales network for UPM BioVerno
Sales of renewable UPM BioVerno expand to cover Scandinavia and the European Union. UPM BioVerno naphtha is sold as a raw material for the plastics industry. A growth programme progresses alongside the business operation.
The fuels of the future
Use of energy derived from renewable sources grows globally, with UPM serving as a pioneering producer of advanced biofuels. The share of transport biofuels exceeds 10% in most European Union Member States, with Finland achieving its target of 20%. UPM gains recognition for the contribution of its UPM BioVerno product in helping to meet emission reduction targets and setting high standards for a sustainable and viable industry.
UPM Rotterdam plans
UPM is currently investigating a production expansion opportunity in advanced biofuels and biomaterials, and is conducting basic engineering for a possible new biorefinery in Maasvlakte 2, at the Port of Rotterdam in the Netherlands.
The planned biorefinery would have an annual capacity of maximum 500 000 tonnes of advanced biofuels for transport, including maritime and aviation, and for petrochemical sector as feedstock for bioplastics.
Towards emission-free transport
The fossil-based emissions of the world’s road transport have been reduced to minimum. Transport relies on renewable biofuel solutions that do not produce fossil carbon dioxide emissions. The innovations of the forest and biotechnology industries play a substantial role in renewable energy generation and UPM is still leading the way.