An example of a biorefinery similar to the one UPM-Kymmene is building… Photo courtesy of UPM-Kymmene

The Finnish company UPM-Kymmene has selected Siemens Energy to supply electrification, automation and digitalization (EAD) packages for a next-generation biorefinery currently under construction in Leuna, Germany.

The biorefinery will be the first industrial-scale facility of its type ever built. It will apply novel process innovations to sustainably convert 100% wood into bio-based Mono-Ethylene Glycol (MEG), Mono-Propylene Glycol (MPG) as well as Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF). Both MEG, MPG as well as functional fillers have traditionally been produced using fossil-based raw materials. UPM will provide alternatives to considerably reduce the CO2 footprint of end-products such as PET bottles, packaging materials, textiles, or rubber products used in various automotive applications. Siemens Energy’s scope of supply for the project includes: 1) Electrification: mill-wide medium- and low-voltage power distribution system and drive system (motor control centre, variable speed drives, motors), 2) Automation: Distributed Control System (DCS) for multiple process areas and remote I/O cubicles (total of 9,000 process objects), including safety and ATEX functions for explosive atmospheres and 3) Digitalization: complete digital twin for the entire plant, covering the mill’s whole life cycle – from integrated engineering to integrated operation.

The biorefinery is scheduled for start-up in late 2022. When fully operational, it will have a total annual capacity of 220,000 tons. Commenting on the project, Jennifer Hooper, Senior Vice President, Industrial Applications Solutions for Siemens Energy, said, “We look forward to helping UPM reduce the world’s reliance on chemicals produced from fossil fuels as we move toward creating a more sustainable world.”

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