• Emerson

Emerson, NES to optimize Fintoil biorefinery operations for more efficient, sustainable production


Emerson’s automation software and technologies will maximize the operational performance of the Fintoil crude tall-oil biorefinery being constructed in the port of Hamina-Kotka, Finland. (Photo: Emerson)

Fintoil, together with Neste Engineering Solutions, has selected Emerson’s automation software and technologies to maximize the operational performance of its biorefinery being constructed in the port of Hamina-Kotka, Finland. The plant will be the third-largest crude tall-oil (CTO) biorefinery in the world and produce advanced biofuel and biochemical feedstocks that help lower emissions and reduce reliance on fossil-based fuels.

The plant will refine CTO, a byproduct of the wood-pulping process, to produce a sustainable feedstock for renewable second-generation diesel, as well as rosin, sterol pitch and turpentine used in the chemicals, foodstuffs and pharmaceuticals industries. These CTO derivatives have a carbon footprint up to 90 percent smaller than their fossil-based equivalents.

“This state-of-the-art facility, which utilizes Neste Engineering Solutions’ NEXPINUS™ technology, uses 40 percent less energy than a conventional tall-oil refinery, and is the perfect example of efficient and sustainable production that supports the circular economy,” explained Fintoil CEO Jukka Ravaska. “Working with Neste Engineering Solutions and Emerson to implement the latest digital-automation technologies will enable us to operate the plant safely and efficiently, minimize operating costs and deliver large-scale production of biofuel and biochemicals as a viable alternative to fossil-based products.”

To reduce project risk and ensure schedule and budget are maintained, Emerson will apply its Project Certainty methodology, which digitalizes project execution and uses practices such as remote testing of equipment. And to enhance plant-security performance, Emerson consultancy services will advise on the implementation of cybersecurity best practices.

“Emerson expertise and technologies are playing a significant role in helping companies achieve their ambitious decarbonization and environmental-sustainability goals, including the accelerated transition to cleaner fuels,” said Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s automation-solutions business. “Our project expertise and latest advanced digital solutions are not only helping Fintoil develop the production capacity of a sustainable fuel, but also optimizing plant efficiency to lower its overall environmental impact. We are very pleased to have Neste Engineering Solutions as a partner in this project because of its extensive experience in the CTO business.”

In addition to providing NEXPINUS, engineering procurement and construction management for the project, Neste Engineering Solutions will also be responsible for delivering the entire application software for the new CTO biorefinery.

Fintoil, together with Neste Engineering Solutions, will implement Emerson’s DeltaV distributed-control system, DeltaV safety-instrumented system and DeltaV Live operator-interface software to enable efficient production, greater visibility of operational performance and process, and emergency shutdown for improved plant and worker safety. Advanced measurement technologies that have minimal maintenance requirements and diagnostics made available through Emerson’s asset-management software will enhance equipment reliability and performance, contributing to greater plant availability and throughput, and lower cost of ownership.

Construction of the facility is expected to be completed this year. The expected annual capacity of 200,000 tons will create a 400,000-ton reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, which is roughly 1 percent of Finland’s total emissions.

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