The first drops of ethanol are produced industrially in the Örnsköldsvik region and this signifies the start of the expertise in ethanol that will be built up in the area during a period of more than a hundred years. The ethanol expertise SEKAB today manages and enhances.
During World War II Mo and Domsjö builds up the organic chemical industry that now includes a wide range of chemical products based on sulphite.
The Foundation for Swedish Ethanol Development, SSEU is founded with its head office in Örnsköldsvik. The operations served as a driving force for the development and marketing of ethanol and ethanol fuels and thus became an important prerequisite for the formation of SEKAB. In 1999 the Foundation was reorganised to become the BioAlcohol Fuel Foundation, BAFF.
SEKAB – Swedish Ethanol Chemistry AB is founded by Berol and MoDo based on the ethanol chemical operations that have been ongoing in the Domsjö industrial area since the late 1930s. The basis for the formation of SEKAB is among other things an agreement with Union Carbide in the USA to contract manufacture ethyl acetate and one with Perstorp for acetaldehyde. The agreements were supported by the Swedish National Board of Civil Preparedness (now the Swedish Emergency Management Agency) an important factor here being the secure supply of chemicals in Sweden.
SEKAB begins to produce and supply ethanol fuel to two buses in Örnsköldsvik, a first in Europe.
SEKAB wins contracts to supply ethanol fuel for 30 buses in Stockholm. This leads in 1993 to Stockholm deciding to improve the local environment in the city by investing heavily in ethanol buses.
SEKAB, SSEU and Örnsköldsvik municipality import the first three ethanol cars, Ford Taurus FlexiFuel, to Örnsköldsvik and SEKAB begins to deliver E85 to a filling station in the area. Another 50 cars of this type are imported to Sweden from the United States. In the years to come, the number rises to 300. OK starts to build public filling stations.1996
SEKAB buys a chemical plant when Neste Oxo ceases operations in Örnsköldsvik.
In order to run an ethanol pilot project the energy companies in the region establish Energy Centre in the North AB (Energicentrum i Norr AB). It later became Etek Ethanol Technology and is today called SEKAB E-Technology Corporation.
After the merger of Holmen Mill, Iggesund and MoDo the name is changed to Holmen AB and the name Mo and Domsjö ceases to exist. The sulphite plant in Domsjö is taken over from Holmen AB by a private consortium under the name of Domsjö Factories AB, which thereby owns a 50% share in SEKAB.
SEKAB begin to sell and distribute ethyl acetate in Europe.
SEKAB and OKQ8 are together first to deliver low mixture ethanol throughout Sweden. The ethanol pilot plant for cellulosic ethanol is inaugurated by Prime Minister Göran Persson and it swiftly gains significant international attention.
Saab’s new ethanol car, BioPower, is unveiled at SEKAB in Örnsköldsvik.
A regional consortium buys SEKAB from Akzo Nobel and Domsjö Factories. The regional ownership consortium comprises Ö-vik Energy, Umeå Energy, Skellefteå Power, Länsförsäkringar in Västerbotten, OK Economic Association and EcoDevelopment.
The new SEKAB group is presented in autumn 2006. Etek and Swedish Ethanol Chemistry AB changes name to SEKAB E-Technology and SEKAB BioFuels & Chemicals. In addition to these two companies three new companies are also formed; the parent company SEKAB Biofuel Industries, SEKAB Industrial Development and SEKAB International.
SEKAB expands its operations outside Sweden.
U.S. Ambassador Michael M. Woods visit SEKAB together with Dan Arvizu, President of NREL, National Renewable Laboratories in Golden, Colorado.
Swedish King Karl Gustaf and Queen Silvia visit SEKAB.
In the SEKAB pilot plant for cellulosic ethanol development, the focus is on enzymatic cellulose hydrolysis.
SEKAB is first in the world to launch and supply verified sustainable ethanol. The sustainable ethanol is imported from Brazil and is produced according to certain criteria regarding social conditions, environmental influence and climate benefits.
Scania and Volvo develop lorry engines that can run on ethanol instead of diesel and SEKAB plans an initial network of filling stations for ED95 – ethanol fuel for heavy goods vehicles such as buses and lorries.
Together with Chalmers and Lund University, Taurus Energy and SEKAB launch advanced biotechnology development cooperation around ethanol production.
The Swedish Energy Agency invests SEK 33.8 million in the development of ethanol processes at the pilot plant in Örnsköldsvik over the next two years. SEKAB invests just over SEK 13 million in the same project, which encompasses the continued development and validation of chemical process technologies for the large-scale production of ethanol from cellulosic raw materials in the future.
SEKAB now delivers E85 to 800 stations across Sweden.
SEKAB is awarded the “Sustainable Bioethanol Award” world prize for its contributions to the development of verified sustainable ethanol and the technology for second generation ethanol based on cellulose.
SEKAB’s jointly-owned plant for fuel ethanol – BioAgra, is up and running – the first in Poland.
Robert Silverman, Charge d’Affaires at the American Embassy, visits SEKAB in Örnsköldsvik to learn about the development of cellulosic ethanol technology. The driving force behind the visit is President Barack Obama’s strong interest in environmental engineering.
The world’s first public filling station for ED95 opens in Stockholm. The station is designed for heavy goods vehicles and lorries that will here and now be able to refuel ED95, an ethanol-based fuel for adapted diesel engines.
We have now built up more than 28 000 hours of know-how in the Ethanol Pilot. The ethanol pilot plant fulfills the IEA’s criteria for a demonstration facility and is renamed Demo Plant and agreements for the first major external assignments are signed.
Now SEKAB has 111 employees and a turnover of SEK 2 billion which makes the company one of the largest Nordic cleantech companies. The Canadian Embassy visits SEKAB on account of Sweden and Canada signing a bilateral agreement for the promotion of research cooperation in the forestry and natural resources sector.
SEKAB and Taurus Energy are jointly awarded the Technology of the Year Award by Biofuels Digest for the successful joint demonstration of ethanol production from cellulosic raw materials on an industrial demo scale.
There are now nearly 3,000 E85 filling stations in Europe and new ones are opening every week. Most of them are still in Sweden but now the numbers are gaining momentum in other parts of Europe.