Meet Päivi

Päivi Nikula, Fintoil’s EHQS Director, is a versatile expert in the chemical industry. She became acquainted with the crude tall oil utilized by Fintoil early in her career in the 1990s.

“Back then, it wasn’t seen as a green industry. Now, raw materials related to biofuels have gained value, and that’s what we produce at Fintoil’s Hamina plant,” Nikula explains.

As the EHQS Director, Nikula’s responsibilities focus on ensuring the quality and sustainability of raw materials and products. Her work includes creating sustainability systems, obtaining certifications, and registering raw materials and products with the chemical agency. With the new factory, certifications are more frequent, so there is no time to get bored.

“The first thing we did was build the sustainability system and obtain ISCC EU and ISCC PLUS ISCC certifications. Next, we’re developing the occupational safety and environmental and quality systems to get them certified as well. They couldn’t be certified right away because we need evidence and deliveries over a longer period for certification.”

Utilizing All Experience

Nikula ended up working for Fintoil after running into a former colleague, Jukka Ravaska, now the CEO of Fintoil, in downtown Oulu, and the conversation turned to Fintoil’s new tall oil distillery in Hamina.

“Jukka mentioned during the conversation that the company needed someone like me. There was a need to establish a lab and management systems, create applications, and register qualities.”

And Nikula had plenty of expertise in all these areas. Being part of the rise of an entirely new plant was enticing. Nikula was ready to sign the papers on the spot.

Embracing the new opportunity has been rewarding, as Nikula has been able to extensively use her chemist training and broad expertise in the chemical industry.

“I’ve been able to use everything I’ve learned over my long career in my work. The lab was first drawn in pencil on paper, then official drawings were made, and equipment was ordered. I’ve also been involved in recruiting lab personnel and guiding new employees in adopting industry methods and quality control.”

Veteran Colleagues Support in Tough Times

Nikula works remotely from Oulu but visits Hamina almost weekly to ensure that analyses run smoothly in the lab and systems function properly.

“The most challenging part of my job is the schedules. Often, deadlines were either yesterday or tomorrow. Registering raw materials with the chemical agency also requires extreme precision, and submitting a registration request was sometimes quite nerve-wracking; there’s little room for error.”

Colleagues, whom Nikula praises profusely, help tackle challenges.

“My colleagues are veterans in their fields. We share a common language and understand each other. My expertise is trusted, and colleagues always encourage me if I have moments of despair.”

Sustainably, Drop by Drop

Hamina’s new factory is designed from the outset to minimize energy consumption and emissions. This provides a solid foundation for sustainable and responsible production.

“Exhaust gases are continuously analyzed with real-time meters, and contingencies are in place, such as a large firefighting water basin to prevent anything from leaking into the sewer system or waterways in case of a fire.”

The crude tall oil used as the plant’s raw material is a by-product of pulp mills, and it is refined into products that can be used as raw materials for biofuels, among other things. Every drop that leaves the Hamina plant is certified and produced sustainably.

“We strive for responsibility in the use of raw materials; nothing is wasted. The only production residue generated is pitch, which is used as a sustainable fuel.”

Of this, Nikula is proud.