Kirkniemi paper mill in Lohja switches to bioenergy
Friday 17. November 2023 - Kirkniemi Mill is the largest coated publication paper mill in the world, producing the Galerie paper range, a high-quality paper used in high-end magazines and luxury printed material. Each year, 5 billion high quality magazines and catalogues are produced with Kirkniemis Galerie paper.
Sappi’s Kirkniemi Mill in Lohja, Finland, has successfully made the switch from using fossil fuels to renewable bioenergy to fuel the production of its Galerie paper range. After a €16.5 million investment into state-of-the-art facilities and machinery for the reception, storage and handling of biofuels, the Kirkniemi Mill is now able to reduce the carbon footprint of the Galerie paper range by 40%.
The official inauguration of the new facilities for reception, storage and handling of biofuels on August 30, 2023, was attended by Kai Mykkänen, the Finnish Minister for Climate and the Environment, who spoke about how the multiple environmental investments by Sappi at Kirkniemi fit with Finland’s ambitious goals for carbon neutrality and leadership in the new energy sector.
Kirkniemi Mill is the largest coated publication paper mill in the world, producing the Galerie paper range, a high-quality paper used in high-end magazines and luxury printed material. Each year, 5 billion high quality magazines and catalogues are produced with Kirkniemi’s Galerie paper.
Less greenhouse gas emissions, cleaner city
Biomass residues such as bark, sawdust and wood chips, largely locally sourced, now fuel the Kirkniemi Mill Galerie paper operations, setting the stage for a 90% reduction in direct fossil greenhouse gas emissions. This upgrade now works alongside the multi-fuel boiler built in 2015, enabling the mill to save nearly 230,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
“Paper is already a product that makes a valuable contribution to the creation of a bio-based circular economy.” says Martti Savelainen, the Kirkniemi Mill director. “We are very proud that our local efforts to shift to renewable bioenergy make a substantial contribution to Sappi’s wider decarbonisation roadmap. Kirkniemi is now positioning itself as part of the solution to climate change.”
Economic benefits from locally sourced biomass
The region of Uusimaa where Lohja is located is rich with forestry and agriculture. Kirkniemi Mill will utilise bioenergy sources that are largely locally sourced. This creates positive impact on the economy of the region through additional employment opportunities and streams of income.
Sappi Europe ESG efforts
The Kirkniemi Mill bioenergy switch is the latest in a string of efforts by Sappi Europe in meeting its Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi)-approved carbon-reduction goals across its European facilities. It comes as part of a longstanding sustainability focus at Kirkniemi that has, in recent years, brought continuous improvements in environmental performance across areas including freshwater usage, emissions to watercourses and energy efficiency.
Sappi Europe’s CEO Marco Eikelenboom: “The switch to renewable bioenergy at Sappi’s Kirkniemi Mill is a result of our consistent investments in our facilities across Europe. Modernisation of the power plant boiler at the Gratkorn Mill in Austria recently allowed a shift from coal to the use of biomass and natural gas, reducing that mill’s carbon footprint by 30%. In the Netherlands, the Maastricht Mill has installed a new e-boiler that runs on electricity rather than natural gas.”
The bioenergy switch aligns perfectly with Sappi Europe’s Decarbonisation Roadmap and sustainability focus, committed to reducing carbon emissions by 41.5% per ton of product by 2030. The roadmap and commitment align with seven of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.