Abstract The economic viability of power production in a diesel power plant utilizing flash pyrolysis oil produced from sawmill wastes in Finland has been investigated. A combination of biomass feedstock costs, pyrolysis oil fuel properties (ignition quality, lubricating properties, combustion speed and duration, emissions, etc.) and their effect on power plant investments and maintenance will ultimately determine electricity busbar costs and the economic competitiveness of the concept. Pyrolysis oil is not a suitable fuel for a conventional diesel engine as such. The preliminary tests with additive treated pyrolysis oil demonstrated, however, that once ignition has taken place, pyrolysis oil burns rapidly. Pyrolysis oil may be a suitable primary fuel for a diesel engine with a pilot injection system, which secures the ignition of the main fuel.