The annual report 2022


Co-operation for promoting circular economy and carbon-neutral energy production

We aim at developing Westenergy’s operation continuously and promote the development of circular economy. Our vision is that Westenergy’s plant will produce carbon-neutral energy by 2030.

In 2022, the first phase of our vision on carbon-neutral energy production began as the EnergySampo CCU consortium was founded. CCU refers to Carbon Capture and Utilisation. The aim of the project is to build a production unit to Westenergy’s plant that will produce liquified synthetic methane, LSNG. The first step of the process is to capture carbon dioxide from the flue gases of Westenergy’s plant. The captured CO2 will then be combined with hydrogen that has been produced with wind power. This forms synthetic methane gas that will be then liquified. The end product of the process is carbon-neutral fuel for heavy traffic and sea-traffic.

It is estimated that the production unit will produce approximately 7 500 tonnes of LSNG in a year

It is estimated that the production unit will produce approximately 7 500 tonnes of LSNG in a year which covers the need of a thousand trucks or two ferries sailing between Vaasa and Umeå in a year. In addition, about 100 gigawatt-hours of heat will be produced in the process and this will be utilised in district heat production. The CO2 emissions of the WtE plant will decrease by nearly 25 %. The project represents a completely new sector connection between the energy sector, waste management, and chemical industry.

The new business has also export potential on a global scale. The project brings together several Finnish export companies operating in hydrogen economy and carbon dioxide, and their advanced solutions will be represented on a commercial scale in the LSNG production plant. In addition to Westenergy, for instance, Danfoss, EPV Energia, Hitachi Energy Finland, Stormossen, Vaasan Sähkö, WOIMA Finland, and Wärtsilä Finland participate in the project. The design consultant in the project is AFRY Finland, and the consortium is supported by the technology centre Merinova.

At the moment, we are carrying out preliminary planning and applying for funding. Last year we started the process of assessing the environmental impacts of the production unit in co-operation with Ramboll Finland, and public events have also been organised. In the spring we aim at making the final decisions regarding technology and taking the preliminary planning as far as possible so that after the funding is secured, we will be able to quickly launch the project. A new project company would then be founded to carry out the project in which Westenergy would operate as a joint owner.

The global situation has speeded up the green transition, and countries are actively trying to detach themselves from the dependence on fossil fuels. Westenergy aims at promoting circular economy and carbon-neutral energy production in the form of EnergySampo CCU project. Our work for a clean and sustainable world will continue in 2023


Sustainable energy production

It is important that our energy production is as clean and sustainable as possible. We observe the obligations outlined in the environmental permit regarding, for instance, the technology, different measurements, and treatment of residues, and we aim to improve our operations continuously.

Monitoring the air emissions of the plant forms a central part in the environmental monitoring program. The measurement results of the air emissions can be seen in the diagrams below where the complete circle illustrates the emission limit outlined in the environmental permit and the grey area marked inside the circle indicates the actual level of a certain impurity in 2022. The diagrams indicate that the flue gas treatment at Westenergy’s WtE plant is on a very high level. We aim at improving flue gas treatment, and our vision is that in the future, also the carbon dioxide in the flue gases will be captured and utilised.

The results of the continuous measurements in 2022

In addition to air emissions, we monitor the consistence of the condensation water formed in the flue gas treatment process as well as the consistence of the surface and groundwater in the area. Last year, the waste storage area was added to the water monitoring plan. No significant changes have occurred in the consistence of the condensation water or in the quality of the surface and groundwater during the plant operation.

The impacts of the operation on trees and other vegetation near the plant are carefully examined. There is an occurrence of a rare lichen, naked kidney lichen, found on the nearby conservation area, and the occurrence is monitored regularly by an independent observer. There have been no significant changes in the occurrence of the naked kidney lichen during the plant’s operation. Westenergy participates also in a more extensive bioindicator study which gathers information on the impacts of air emissions on vegetation. In addition, Westenergy takes part in the air quality monitoring program together with other major industrial companies operating in Vaasa and Mustasaari.

Waste inspection

The fuel of Westenergy’s WtE plant differs from many other sources of energy as its consistence varies a great deal, and the journey of the waste from the producer to the plant isn’t always completely straightforward. To ensure that the fuel of the plant is suitable for energy recovery and doesn’t cause problems for the equipment or flue gas purification, we carry out inspections on the consistence of the waste. Last year about 80 waste deliveries were inspected, and we were able to use the new storage area and hall that ensure a clean and modern way to inspect and temporarily store the waste. This year we aim to develop our inspection methods so that we could screen a bigger amount of waste than before. This would help us get a more comprehensive view of the consistence of the fuel.

Residue treatment

The appropriate treatment and analysis on the residues formed in the plant are a central part of our environmental responsibility. We promote the sustainable treatment and reuse of these materials.

Bottom ash is formed during incineration. This material consists of, for example, ash, glass, metals, ceramics, and stone. The largest pieces of metal are separated from the ash already at the plant and are recycled. Suomen Erityisjäte further processes the bottom ash of Westenergy’s plant, and in 2022, about 33 000 tonnes of bottom ash were processed. The mineral fraction separated from the bottom ash is used to replace natural sand and gravel in, for example, road construction and concrete products. The metals in the bottom ash are, in turn, recycled and become raw material for metal industry. In this way, the valuable raw materials are returned to circulation.

Altogether some 6 000 tonnes of boiler ash and flue gas treatment residue, or APC, is formed in the energy production process in a year. These residues consist of purifying chemicals and impurities adhered to them. Fortum Waste Solutions processes these materials. Currently, a part of the material is processed in the ash refinery, whereas the other part is stabilised with cement and landfilled.


Everyone participates in developing occupational health and safety

Our health & safety aim is to create a safe workplace where employees enjoy working. In 2022, no accidents took place at Westenergy, and Westenergy has been an accident-free workplace for two and a half years. We seek to improve safety in many ways. First aid skills and occupational safety card are required from all employees. Employees are encouraged to actively observe their workplace and report targets for development. Last year, about 50 such safety observations were reported. The observations are analysed to find out the primary causes and organise corrective actions, and last year, for instance, working planes and different markings and signs were added to the work environment. In 2022 we focused on improving safety especially in waste reception. This was topical as the new waste storage area and truck scale brought new functions to waste reception.

Risk assessment is a central tool in developing occupational safety, and it is updated by the occupational health and safety committee. The committee co-operates actively with occupational health care to promote the safety and well-being of the employees. Safety is also improved by organising safety briefings for the staff on topical themes such as using new tools and equipment.

The service stop of the plant is an annual challenge for occupational safety as during the service stop, there can be even 120 employees working at the plant at the same time and everyone aims at being as effective as possible. The corona restrictions have added challenge to planning the service stops the previous years. A work team has, therefore, been set up for planning safety during the service stops, and last year Fieldwork and Development Engineer Janne Suorauha took responsibility over the safety management during the service stops. Read about Janne’s experiences on our online annual report!

  • Accidents
  • Sickness absence percentage
  • Safety observations


Working for improving occupational safety


The first time I worked at Westenergy’s WtE plant was during the service stop of the plant in 2020. At that time, I worked at a safety and security company that organised safety surveillance at Westenergy’s plant during the service stop. After that, I worked in a project that aimed to improve safety in waste reception.

Last year the new incoming road, automatic truck scale, and waste storage area were put into operation, and I was hired to Westenergy as Fieldwork and Safety Coordinator. My work included developing these new functionalities, the emphasis being on safety. Currently I work at Westenergy as Fieldwork and Development Engineer. My task is to ensure that chemicals and waste are delivered safely to the plant. My work involves a lot of co-operation with the truck drivers, and I help them use the new truck scale and access control system. In a day, we get some 50 deliveries to the plant and there are altogether hundreds of drivers who deliver waste or chemicals to the plant. It is important that the deliveries run smoothly and safely. The best part of my job is working with people. Co-operation is the key in improving safety, and the drivers have given me a lot of good ideas on how to improve safety.

I’m also responsible for coordinating safety during the service stops of the plant. There are even over 100 people working at the plant during service stops, and it is my job to ensure their safety and safe ways of working. I’m responsible for, for instance, safety inductions, instructing and surveillance together with the employees of Rescue Team Finland.

I have worked in safety and security sector for nearly two decades. I have, for instance, worked in managing safety in different public events. Safety is strongly present on my spare time as well as I work as security guard and as crew chief at the volunteer fire department.

My impression on Westenergy was a positive one from the start. I like the work environment and the positive atmosphere. I have got to know the staff well although I started working at Westenergy during the pandemic when contacts between people were strictly limited. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Energy and Environmental Technology so Westenergy is an interesting place to work for me also from the point of view of circular economy.


Employees are encouraged to develop their skills and competence

Creating the prerequisites for the employees to develop skills and competencies is of key importance at Westenergy. Annual development discussions offer a good forum for outlining personal education plans where the needs of the company and those areas where the employer would like to develop and learn more about, are identified. In 2022, the employees took part in 67 staff training days.

Remote work became the new normal

The corona pandemic changed the way work is carried out also at Westenergy. For instance, remote work has become a new and effective way of working, and many employees whose work includes office work, is now working partly from home. Remote work has brought flexibility to the work methods but has, on the other hand, decreased encounters at workplace. We stay in contact with each other, for instance, with the help of daily morning meetings that gather all employees together for a moment regardless of their actual location. The attendance rate in the morning meetings has been high since the beginning of the pandemic when the meetings were moved online.

Recreational activities for supporting well-being

Recreational activities are important for the well-being of employees and help create a positive workplace atmosphere. Westenergy’s recreational activities group plans the activities for the staff. At the beginning of 2022, the corona pandemic and restrictions made it difficult to organise activities, and the money was donated to Ukraine for humanitarian aid instead. In the fall, when the corona situation eased up, the employees were able to attend a trip to visit a WtE plant in Czech, Liberec. The employees are encouraged to take care of their well-being also on their spare time with the help of vouchers that can be used to pay culture and sport activities. There is also a versatile gym at the plant.

Student co-operation

In 2022 there were altogether 47 employees at Westenergy. Around ten of them were summer workers who substituted the permanent staff in production, maintenance and in different office work as well as in the maintenance of the outdoor area of the plant. Many of the summer workers have been students who have later written their thesis for Westenergy. Last year, two such theses were completed, both of which dealt with developing the maintenance and maintenance system of the plant.

HR key figures in 2022