From Pine Tar to High-Tech Products
For centuries, tar harvested from pine trees has had a significant role in the Finnish lifestyle. In Finland the history of tar burning dates back to the Middle Ages, while by the 17th century Finland had become the most significant tar burning region in Europe. At the beginning of 1640ies about 70 000 barrels of tar were exported from Finland to other countries. The key tar burning regions were situated around the Saimaa water system and in Ostrobothnia. In 1900 as much as 75% of tar burned in Finland was produced in Kainuu.
Turpentine and Tall Oil Pitch as Tar Burning By-Products.
Processing of softwood produces crude tall oil, which is distilled at tall oil distilleries. The main distillery products include – in addition to tall oil pitch – tall oil fatty acids and resin acids. Today tar burning takes place in pulp boilers, which represent the modern method of producing tar or tall oil. By esterification of tall oil fatty acids it is possible to create excellent solvents that can be used i.a. as raw materials for detergents.
Moreover, Finnish forestry industry has also launched considerable investments into various biorefineries that use pine as their principal raw material. Applying i.a. the hydrogen processing technology innovative biorefineries produce wood-based renewable solvents and transport biofuels.
1987 is the year of founding Pineline Group Oy, which is operating, inter alia, in the field of refining tall oil into high-tech detergent and cleanser products.