UPM utilises sustainable wood in an innovative way

UPM-Kymmene Corporation (UPM) has moved forward with the development of biochemicals business by evaluating the potential of building a biorefinery in the Chemical Park Frankfurt-Höchst, located in Germany.

The new biorefinery would combine novel technologies and utilise sustainable wood raw material in an innovative way. This opportunity is the outcome of more than five years of extensive technology development and piloting.

The planned industrial scale biorefinery would convert wood into bio-monoethylene glycol (bMEG), bio-monopropylene glycol (bMPG) and lignin up to 150,000 metric tons per year. Production would be based on hardwood from sustainably managed forests in Central Europe.

While application areas for bio-monoethylene glycol include textiles, bottles, packaging and deicing fluids. Bio-monopropylene glycol is used for example in composites, pharma and cosmetics or detergents; lignin can be used in wood resins, plastics or foams and coatings.

Recently, UPM Plywood introduced WISA BioBond gluing solution that replaces fossil-based phenol with lignin in plywood products.

UPM is proceeding with a detailed commercial and basic engineering study to verify the attractiveness of the business case, which will take about a year. If all preparation phases are concluded successfully, UPM would initiate the company’s standard procedure of analysing and preparing an investment decision.

“We are truly excited about this opportunity to bring bio-based products to the market, which would enable replacement of fossil-based materials with new renewable alternatives,” Juuso Konttinen, Vice President, UPM Biochemicals, said. “Renewable raw material and efficient processes enable significant reductions in CO2 footprint compared to fossil-based products. Furthermore, wood as a second generation raw material does not compete with food production. These are compelling sustainability arguments for brand owners and their businesses.”