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Planning of City Refinery is making progress – project is boosted by decision on MEAE aid

The planning of the City Refinery, a joint venture by Helen, Lassila & Tikanoja and VTT, is making progress. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment (MEAE) has granted energy aid to Helen for the City Refinery project where renewable raw materials can be processed from non-recyclable materials and utilised in the transport and materials sectors. The City Refinery is planned for Vuosaari.  

In the global scale, the City Refinery is a unique example of the way the energy sector can enable circular economy. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment granted energy aid of EUR 7,9 million to Helen for investing in the City Refinery.

- We are delighted that Helen has been granted aid for investing in the City Refinery. This will give a strong social signal that these kinds of circular economy projects are needed and that we are on the right path, says Helen’s Director Maiju Westergren.

Helen is now inviting more partners to take part in the development of the City Refinery. The objective of Helen, Lassila & Tikanoja and VTT is to make the City Refinery a world-class solution and concept, which can be applied in other cities and which will also strengthen Finland’s position as an expert in the circular economy.

- We are offering the opportunity for various stakeholders interested in the circular economy to join forces with us in the development of the City Refinery. We want to develop solutions in the circular economy and bio-economy on a cross-sector scale. We are therefore hoping that more partners will be joining us along the way, says Helen’s Research and Development Manager Jussi Uitto.

Materials and energy are utilised

The raw materials used in the City Refinery are biomass residues from forestry and agriculture and various materials that are difficult to recycle. The end products of processing will be intermediate products that can be utilised in chemical industry or as renewable transportation fuels.

The City Refinery is based on gasification technology, which binds the carbon contained in the gasified materials in the closed cycle and does not release it to the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. In addition to end products, the biorefinery process also produces heat as a by-product, which is recovered in the City Refinery and utilised in the district heating network for heating homes.

- The planning of the City Refinery is now in full swing, and we are hoping that we can take the investment decision by the end of 2020, says Maiju Westergren.

Facts:

  • Helen aims for carbon neutrality by 2035, and a number of different solutions are needed to reach that target, one of which is circular economy.
  • The City Refinery will use side streams generated in Helsinki and process them into new high-grade products.
  • Raw materials used will include biomass residues from forestry and agriculture, as well as materials that are unsuitable for mechanical recycling.
  • The City Refinery will use gasification technology that binds the carbon contained in the products in a closed cycle instead of releasing it into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.
  • The end products of processing will be raw materials for the needs of industry, such as transport fuels or recycled plastics for the use of the plastics industry. Heat is produced as a by-product, which is recovered and utilised by feeding it into the district heating network.
  • The production plant will be 5MW in the demo phase. If the plant proves to be a successful project during the demo phase, an industrial-scale plant investment can be launched.

Published: 02.01.2020 16:37
Marina Galkin-Aalto
Journalist
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