Ethanol is globally the most widely used and well-known biofuel. It is liquid fuel that replaces gasoline directly in existing usage. There is no large investments needed for distribution networks. St1’s advanced ethanol is used in high-blend ethanol fuels or as a biocomponent in petrol in low blends.
The performance qualities of St1’s waste-based advanced ethanol are superior compared to most other alternative biofuels and it generates up to 90% less CO2-emissions than conventional fossil fuels. 100% of the feedstock of our advanced ethanol production is waste-based and comes from fully traceable sources. Life cycle emissions have been cut down using waste as feedstock. Renewable energy is used in production and energy efficiency has been one of our top priorities in developing our technologies. St1 advanced ethanol has the possibility to vastly reduce fossil fuel -based GHG-emissions in a fast way.
St1 is focusing on ethanol production technologies that utilize biowaste and residues. Our ongoing research and development projects increase the capacity of ethanol production as new feedstock and plant technologies become available. Suitable feedstock is found in every country in the world. The biggest potential in the future can be seen in the use of forest industry residues. The St1 research team is developing the Cellunolix concept, producing advanced ethanol from sawdust, a processing residue from the sawmill industry, and the enzymes used in the biorefining process. During the recent years St1 has continued to develop the Cellunolix® biorefining concept towards production volumes and technical feasibility of commercial scale biorefinery.
Advanced ethanol biorefineries produce other bioproducts in addition to ethanol. The commercialization of these products is important in evaluating the profitability of the investments. For example, some bioproducts can be used as substitutes for plastics or as recycled nutrients in organic fertilizers. St1 is involved in several lignin application developments together with universities and private partners. Some of the promising applications are, for example, bitumen replacement in asphalt production, the replacement of fossil components in resins production, and biochar production for the steel industry. Due to wide range of products, our Cellunolix® concept offers solutions for achieving carbon negativity in various different sectors.
In addition to high quality fuel, depending on the feedstock, our biorefineries generate fodder, energy or heat as a side product.
Manufacturing advanced ethanol alone is not enough to bring biorefineries to profitable levels, and therefore a significant revenue stream must also be obtained from bioproducts. At the moment, lignin is the bioproduct St1 is working with that exhibits the greatest potential. It’s also the largest product of the Cellunolix® concept in terms of volume.
Because of wood lignin’s function as a binder, it is suitable as an adhesive for use in the resin industry, for example. Lignin is also widely studied in composites to replace plastic. Additionally, it has good product properties such as fire resistance and the ability to shield from UV radiation. Bioasphalt is one area of interest that is being explored extensively. In this application, lignin replaces bitumen as it’s a good binder component in asphalt. Concrete plasticizers are another area of application. In addition, lignin is being studied in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries. Its use as an animal feed additive is also interesting for reducing carbon dioxide and methane emissions
The St1 Cellunolix® concept and the growth of the entire value chain of sawdust requires that all fractions will be utilized in the future. Besides bioethanol, thermochemical routes are one way to produce biofuels like renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuels from forest industry residues. These routes produce biochar as a bioproduct. Biochar has an extensive repertoire of uses. It can be used in landscaping, in tying stormwater, or to replace activated carbon. Carbon foam is another new and interesting area to investigate.
Biochar also has huge potential in steel industry and in the energy sector, replacing fossil carbon. The raw material base and fractions from which biofuels and other fractions are obtained will also expand. Biogas is an especially interesting and valuable area, and it could be used in the production of process energy. Biogas could still be used as a transport fuel in the future.
Forerunner in biorefining solutions
St1’s Advanced biofuels is a forerunner in waste-based ethanol production technology. Our mission is to replace fossil fuels in a competitive and sustainable way by producing renewable ethanol cost-efficiently from waste and residues. We only use feedstocks that are outside the food chain and will not cause any direct or indirect land use changes.
Our expertise lies within biochemical processes, technology development, engineering, and project delivery. We have developed several technological concepts and repeatable solutions to produce advanced ethanol for traffic use. Our solutions lower the expenses of waste handling for those companies who supply feedstock for the process.
St1’s biorefining concept results in almost carbon-neutral renewable ethanol – thanks to waste as feedstock and the use of renewable energy in heat and power generation. Energy efficiency has been one of the top priorities in our technology development. As waste is local, the transportation needs are minimal.
Each of our biorefining concepts is based on different type of waste-based feedstock. We continue their development and testing in our own biorefineries in order to constantly improve the production processes.
Our Cellunolix® biorefining concept is a concrete step towards commercial cellulosic ethanol production. St1 is a forerunner in technology that enables the use of sawmill side products, such as sawdust and chips from soft wood, in renewable ethanol production in the near future.
We have built first of a kind Cellunolix® demonstration biorefinery on the Renforsin Ranta industrial estate in Kajaani, Finland. It utilizes sawdust from local sources as feedstock and the annual production capacity is 10 million litres. The production also generates valuable bioproducts, such as lignin, wood vinasse, furfural, biogas, and turpentine. The pilot plant started production in 2017. The St1 research team is developing the Cellunolix concept, producing advanced ethanol from sawdust, a processing residue from the sawmill industry, and the enzymes used in the biorefining process. The R&D laboratory forms a worldclass entity with a Cellunolix® demonstration biorefinery in Kajaani. The research results and development work can immediately be taken seamlessly to production for testing on a demonstration scale, and the results can be returned to the development work.
St1’s Etanolix® concept refines waste and residues rich in starch and sugar into 99,8% advanced ethanol that is ready for use in high blend ethanol fuels or as a bio component in low blends. An Etanolix® plant can be set up as stand-alone plant or it can be integrated with production which generates suitable feedstock for ethanol production – such as fermentable waste and process residues from bakeries, breweries and beverage production as well as retail waste, for example surplus bread and sorted bio waste. This biorefining concept results liquid animal feed and biogas as co-products.
We have three Etanolix® biorefineries in production in Finland (in Lahti, Vantaa and Hamina) and one that is integrated into our refinery in Gothenburg, Sweden. The annual production capacity varies between 1 to 9 million litres.
Advanced ethanol that is made from waste reduces CO2-emissions by up to 90% compared to fossil fuels. The lifecycle emissions are reduced by using waste and process residues as a feedstock and therefore 0-emissions can be calculated for the feedstock.
Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy sources is inevitable. The demand for biofuels will continue to grow, thus increasing the pressure for imported feedstock and fuel. Biofuels obligations and the taxation of different fuels vary from one country to another. However, the origin and method of production have a great impact on how biofuel is perceived. Advanced ethanol that is locally produced from waste and process residues evidently has a sustainable life cycle, from production to the end-user.
The best value for waste
Waste is more than energy. It is feedstock in ethanol production through advanced recycling technology. Biodegradable waste can be put into efficient use with our production technology to become fuel. The biorefineries generate also valuable bioproducts, such as animal feed or green energy and soil conditioner when combined with a biogas plant.
Recycling waste and residues into advanced ethanol increases the value of waste and responds to the growing need of domestic biofuels. Production of advanced ethanol is modern and sustainable waste management. It is clean and easy solution to recycle waste locally.