Fact Sheets & Guidelines

UPM Biofuels – commercial plant in Lappeenranta, Finland


Technology description

Project background

UPM – More projects

Further Information

ScaleIntroductionUPM The Biotore Company

UPM plans to become a major player in Europe in the production of renewable, high quality advanced biofuels. UPM produces its advanced biofuel, UPM BioVerno, at the biorefinery in Lappeenranta, Finland, based on its own innovations.

The UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery, producing wood-based renewable diesel from forestry residues, has started commercial production in January 2015. A significant portion of the raw material used at the UPM Lappeenranta Biorefinery - crude tall oil - comes from UPM's own pulp mills in Finland, such as the UPM Kaukas mill site located next door.

UPM BioVerno is high quality renewable diesel that can be used as a blending component or as 100% fuel in all diesel engines. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 80% compared to fossil diesel.

Technology description

The production of UPM BioVerno renewable diesel from wood-based tall oil is an advanced biofuel production process. This innovative production process has been developed in the UPM Biorefinery Research and Development Centre in Lappeenranta, Finland.

The technology is based on hydrotreatment. Phases are pretreatment of crude tall oil, hydrotreatment, separation of hydrocarbons, recycle gas purification, and fractionation to produce renewable diesel and small portion of renewable naphtha as end products.

  • Pretreatment: Crude Tall Oil is purified; salts, impurities, solid particles and water are removed.
  • Hydrotreatment: Pretreated Crude Tall Oil is fed together with make-up and recycled hydrogen to the reactor where the chemical structure is modified. Reaction water is separated and directed to waste water treatment.
  • Fractionation: Remaining hydrogen sulfide and uncondensable gases are removed. The remaining liquid is distilled to separate renewable diesel suitable for all diesel engines.

Technical Details

Project owner

UPM Biofuels

Project name

UPM Lappeenranta biorefinery


Lappeenranta, Finland


Oleo chemical conversion

Raw Material

Wood-based residue of pulp production; tall oil


Renewable diesel similar to HVO

Output Capacity

130,000 t/y

Facility type


Total Investment

175,000,000 EUR



Start-up Year

January 2015



UPM Biofuel Plant

UPM Biofuel Plant

Flowchart of UPM Lappeenranta biorefinery

Flowchart of UPM Lappeenranta biorefinery

Project background

In 2008, with the popularity of printing paper declining, UPM decided to transform itself in a bold way and look for new businesses. Biofuels was a prevalent trend and UPM had suitable wood-based residue available from their own pulp production as feedstock. Product development of wood-based UPM BioVerno diesel started in-house. UPM utilized its 120 years of experience in making products from wood at its site in Lappeenranta.

Investment decision to build the world´s first biorefinery producing wood-based renewable diesel was made in February 2012. Construction of the biorefinery started during summer 2012 in Lappeenranta, Finland. UPM’s total investment cost for the renewable diesel biorefinery is about EUR 175 million and was completed without any public investment grants. NIB is co-financing the project with a 7-year maturity loan of EUR 50 million. The technology to refine tall oil into renewable diesel is based on the company’s own innovation and co-operation with Danish catalysis company Haldor Topsøe A/S, another loan customer of NIB. The company’s biofuel plant integrates nicely with the pulp and paper plant, saw mill, and research centre at the site. The local resources in know-how, raw materials and energy can be utilized in a way that makes logistical sense.

UPM employs around 21,000 people, its annual sales are approximately EUR 10 billion, and it has production plants in 14 countries. UPM shares are listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

UPM - More Projects

  • In advanced biofuels UPM has been developing, together with Andritz Carbona, the gasification technology needed to produce biofuel from wood biomass. The initial testing programme was completed in the USA at the Gas Technology Institute as planned.
  • UPM, Metso and Fortum together with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have developed a new concept for the production of wood biomass-based bio-oil to replace fossil fuels in heating and power generation. Production of bio-oil is integrated into biomass-based power plants. The long-term goal is to use bio-oil for the production of transportation fuel.
  • UPM, Fortum and Valmet are jointly developing technology to produce lignocellulosic advanced biofuels. The project is called Lignocat (lignocellulosic fuels by catalytic pyrolysis)
  • UPM is planning the production of advanced biofuels from wood biomass in a BtL (Biomass-to-Liquid) refinery to be constructed in Strasbourg, France. The European Union has awarded UPM a NER grant of EUR 170 million for the project.

Further Information

See the UPM website for updated information