Vaskiluodon Voima Oy has inaugurated what is at 140 MWe the world's largest biomass gasification plant, in Vaasa, Finland.

Vaskiluodon Voima Oy has inaugurated what is at 140 MWe the world’s largest biomass gasification plant, in Vaasa, Finland. The plant, supplied by Metso, was opened by the Finnish minister of Labour Lauri Ihalainen on 11 March.

The technology of the new plant is based on a long-term development of Metso’s. The company delivered its first plant using gasification technology back in the 1980s.
Metso’s scope included fuel handling, a large-scale dryer and a circulating fluidised bed gasifier, modification work on the existing coal boiler and a Metso DNA automation system. The bio-gasification plant was constructed as part of the existing coal-fired power plant, and its gas product will be combusted along with coal in the existing coal boiler.

The plant started up at the turn of the year. The contract was announced in June 2011, and Metso started the construction at Vaskiluoto in April of the following year, making the actual construction phase fairly short.

"The operational experiences so far indicate that the 140-MW bio-gasification plant functions as planned, and the produced gas burns cleanly in the coal boiler and reduces emissions," says Mauri Blomberg, managing director of Vaskiluodon Voima.

Nearly half of the coal burned by the plant can be replaced with gasified biomass, which enables the flexible use of different fuels and significantly extends the life of the current power plant. It is a significant indicator of Metso’s strategy of offering energy solutions in which technologies related to fuel refining have been brought forth alongside traditional combustion. In May 2012, a similar event was held in Lahti, Finland, with the inauguration of the world’s first waste gasification plant. "Coal boilers still account for the majority of power production in the world. Bio-gasification technology of this scale offers a new, cost-effective option for increasing the share of biomass and, consequently, for significantly decreasing the use of and emissions from coal" commented Jyrki Holmala, president of Metso’s power business line.

Vaskiluodon Voima Oy is owned 50-50 by the energy companies EPV Energia Oy and Pohjolan Voima Oy. The company’s power plants, located in Vaasa and Seinäjoki, produce electricity and district heating.