Graanul Invest flagship plant received the cornerstone

On Tuesday, 17 September, Graanul Invest laid the cornerstone for wood processing flagship plant, thus marking the start of new biomaterials business line.

The purpose of the flagship plant, which will be constructed on the territory of Graanul Invest, next to Imavere pellet plant, is development and production of biomaterials from low-quality wood residues. In result of temperature, pressure and mechanical force, the innovative technology of the plant splits wood fibers into basic elements – high-purity lignin and wood sugars, which enable use in several industries. This is the fourth business line of Graanul Invest Group beside pellet production, energy and forestry.

At the cornerstone ceremony, a member of the management board of Graanul Invest Raul Kirjanen told, how 15 years of experience in wood processing has provided to the group sufficient experience for taking another step in the development of solutions with even higher added value. „This ceremony of the flagship plant is not only the start of a factory, but can be considered the start of our new business line, which will hopefully open a completely new future in wood processing.“

Research and development manager of Graanul Invest Group Peep Pitk provided overview, how the idea and search of technologies reached construction and cornerstone ceremony in three and a half years. „For years, we have searched a technology, which would provide maximum efficiency coefficient in wood processing, while having as low environmental impact and ecological footprint as possible. Today we believe that the selected technology provides these expected solutions, but we will see the real results only when the flagship plant is completed and processes are operating,“ said Pitk. According to his words, the estimated time of completion of the first stage of the flagship plant is the first half of 2020.

“Business development is important for Järva municipality and Graanul Invest has managed to put itself on the world map with this project, within three years and half years from an idea to cornerstone ceremony. Järva municipality will always support entrepreneurs, “said Järva rural municipality mayor Rait Pihelgas.

The SWEETWOODS project supporting the construction of the flagship plant has received research financing, which is one of the largest in Estonia and one of the most influential in the EU – Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking is supporting the project with 20.96 million euros.

Technology licence of the flagship plant comes from Sweetwater Energy, engineering  is done by De Smet Engineers & Contractors from Belgium, special parts of preliminary project and main project were designed by Sweco Projekt AS, and constructive design of the production building was drafted by Maru Ehitus AS. Main contractor of the construction is Maru Ehitus AS.

The capsule was set in the cornerstone of the plant by member of the management board of Graanul Invest Raul Kirjanen, research and development manager Peep Pitk and Järva rural municipality mayor Rait Pihelgas.

The time capsule included a cup with high purity lignin, pre-fractionated woodchips that are raw material for the plant, business plan of the project, foundation articles of Graanul Biotech and the newspaper of the day.