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Tall oil as replacement for fossil raw materials

Forchem refines tall oil to be used in products with a high added value: the company’s tall oil-based products are used, for example, in paints, coating products, adhesives and antimicrobial feed stuffs. The products replace fossil raw materials and promote antibiotic-free agriculture.

Photo: Sitra

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Problem

Forestry-based production generates a lot of surplus raw materials, such as crude tall oil as by-product of pulp production. This and other raw materials thus generated are not yet used to their fullest extent. Crude tall oil is often used as a source of energy or refined into transport fuel, even though it has been refined into economically more valuable products for decades. If crude tall oil were refined further and used for producing longer-lasting products, it would bind the carbon contained in it for longer, which would be environmentally advantageous.

Solution: tall oil as replacement for fossil raw materials

Forchem refines crude tall oil into different renewable products, such as tall oil-based fatty acids that can be used for replacing fossil raw materials in products such as paints or antimicrobial feed stuffs. The company does not produce the final products, including different paints, coating products, adhesives and antimicrobial feed stuffs, itself. Forchem’s refining process increases the value of tall oil compared to using it for energy.

Forchem’s revenue logic and benefits

Forchem buys its raw materials and the steam used for the refining process from a pulp mill. The company manufactures and sells products made of crude tall oil generated as side streams from pulp mills. The raw materials Forchem cannot upgrade are sold back to the pulp mill for energy use. In addition, the tar pitch generated by the tall oil refining process is sold back to the pulp mill. The company is continuously looking for new opportunities to utilise tall oil in products with a high added value.

Benefits to customers and end users

The customers include re-processors of different chemical products, to whom Forchem’s products provide a renewable raw material to replace fossil raw materials made from the side streams of the forestry industry.

Facts

Forchem Oyj in a nutshell

Main business: Refining, sale and marketing of pulp industry by-products

Year of foundation: 2000

Turnover: Over €150 million

Year the circular economy solution was launched: 2000

Share of the circular economy solution of the total business: 100%

Employees: 10-250

Based: Rauma

Website: www.forchem.com

Project

The most interesting companies in the circular economy in Finland 2.1

The most interesting companies in the circular economy is a list compiled by Sitra to showcase Finland’s most inspiring examples of the circular economy. Sitra is using the list as a way to challenge Finnish companies to meet the changing needs of the world.

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