The forest industry’s particle, sulphur and nitrogen oxide emissions to the air account for less than 10 per cent of Finland’s total emissions. In recent years, total sulphur compounds have been reduced to virtually insignificant levels thanks to efficient collection and treatment systems.

The forest industry has significantly reduced air emissions in recent decades. For example, the relative particulate emissions of forest industry production have decreased by 88% since 1992. The forest industry is continuously implementing emission reduction measures. Over the past eight years, the forest industry has spent on average EUR 15 million a year on climate-friendly investments. Air quality objectives are easily achieved in industrial areas.

One of the forest industry’s strengths is its significant bioenergy self-sufficiency. Some two thirds of all renewable energy in Finland is linked to the forest industry. In 2019, the share of renewable energy in the forest industry's energy production was 87 per cent, so the sector is approaching its 90 per cent target set for 2025. Voluntary energy efficiency agreements have also achieved excellent results in improving energy efficiency.

Pulp Mills Almost Odour-Free

The sulphur chemicals required in a pulp mill’s cooking process result in odours when they combine with organic compounds in wood. The odour compounds are, for example, methyl mercaptan, and their quantity is expressed in a TRS figure (Total Reduced Sulphur).

The odour gases are carefully collected at every stage of the process. They are treated in a separate incineration process or they are incinerated in the recovery boiler. The system incorporates several back-up systems to manage any process disturbances.

Effective measures have reduced the pulp industry's relative emissions of odour sulphur compounds (TRS) by 97% since 1992.

Reducing Nitrogen Oxides Remains a Challenge

The amount of nitrogen oxide created in energy production and pulp manufacturing has remained steady in recent years. Improving energy efficiency at pulp mills is the biggest reason nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions have not been reduced. A third of nitrogen oxide emissions from recovery boilers comes from the fuel, the lignin that is extracted from wood to make black liquor. The amount of nitrogen oxides is managed by directing combustion processes effectively.