Linde Gases is to construct standard on-site nitrogen and oxygen production plants in Äänekoski, Finland for two companies in the country’s pulp and paper industry.

The company’s ECOVARTM range of plants will be provided to CP Kelco and Metsä Fibre, respectively, as part of a total investment of around €15m ($16.1m).

The long-term on-site gas supply agreements include plant installation, operation and maintenance; both will be constructed by Linde’s Engineering Division.

The news comes in the same week as another Linde-related development in Finland, with the confirmation from Helsinki-based infrastructure solutions provider Caverion that it is providing various aspects of the build for Linde’s new hydrogen production plant at Neste Oil’s Porvoo refinery. The company also affirmed that the project was scheduled to be ready by spring/summer 2016.

Bo Dyrvold, Head of Linde’s Regional Business Unit Northern Europe, said of the new investments in Finland’s pulp and paper sector, “We are delighted to be able to contribute, through our expertise, to this new €15m investment project for the pulp and paper industry in Finland. Gases are an essential part of many production processes in this industry and these particular investments are an important focus for growth.”

“The new bio-product mill will create further opportunities for both our gases and gas technologies. As such, we have a commitment to our customers to continue to develop technologies and delivery concepts which improve the efficiency, productivity and sustainability of their processes.”

Efficient delivery

The ECOVARTM delivery method is an efficient way to deliver large amounts of gases for industrial processes, both in terms of energy consumption and a reduction in environmental impact.

On-site production significantly reduces the need for road deliveries of gas and adsorption technology also saves energy compared to cryogenic distillation, commonly used in production of gases in large quantities.

The nitrogen production installation at CP Kelco will incorporate Linde’s ECOVARTM ADSOSSTM-N gas generation plant, which separates nitrogen from air employing the adsorption-based PSA (pressure swing adsorption) process. The customer will use the nitrogen for inerting processes in the production of CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose) in order to control the level of oxygen content.

The uninterrupted supply of nitrogen is of primary importance to the production process, product quality and operational safety. To guarantee CP Kelco a continuous supply of nitrogen under all conditions, a back-up system based on vaporization of liquid nitrogen will also be installed.

Implementation of the ECOVARTM plant is underway, with operations beginning in early 2016.

Paper mill

Linde has also agreed with Metsä Fibre, part of Metsä Group, for long-term deliveries of oxygen based on a similar ECOVARTM supply concept, this time incorporating an ADSOSSTM-O oxygen plant. The plant will extract oxygen by means of adsorption. ADSOSSTM-O gas generation plants are typically designed with two cyclically operated adsorber vessels to extract oxygen continuously, known as vacuum pressure swing adsorption (VPSA) technology.

The installation will be built in the Metsä Group´s new bio-product mill area, currently under construction. Oxygen is an essential chemical in the modern pulp mill and its uninterrupted delivery is vital. Metsä Fibre uses significant amounts of oxygen in its processes, for example, in the bleaching of pulp and oxidation of white liquor.

The Äänekoski ADSOSSTM-O oxygen plant will be one of the world’s largest oxygen plants based on VPSA and will begin operations at the same time as Metsä Group’s bio-product mill, in the third quarter of 2017.