Iggesund Paperboard believes that its Swedish mill is fast approaching the company’s demanding environmental goals.
For a while in mid-April, the Iggesund Mill was able to operate solely on bioenergy while also supplying almost all its own electricity needs, the company said in a press note sent out yesterday.
Another important aspect of the vision for the Iggesund Mill was that emissions to air and water should be so low that Iggesund was among the global leaders among comparable manufacturers.
And yet another goal was that a minimum of by-products would go to landfill.
“We’re getting close to the vision of a fossil-free mill that we’ve lived with and that has driven our investments for a long time,” mill director Olov Winblad von Walter was quoted as saying. “Our new recovery boiler, which came on line in spring 2012, is getting better and better as we fine tune it, and our increasing pulp production is also boosting our energy production.”
Iggesund Mill was one of the world’s integrated paperboard mills with the highest level of investment, the press note said. The mill’s biggest investment to date, €250 million, had seen the installation of a new recovery boiler, which had enabled the mill gradually to increase its annual pulp production from 350,000 tonnes to 420,000 tonnes.
“Our sulphate process for pulp production means that we separate out the cellulose fibres that comprise half the mass of a log,” Winblad von Walter said. “The other half consists of the wood’s binding agent, which is mostly an energy-rich substance called lignin. We burn this in the recovery boiler and it produces enough steam and electricity to cover more than 90 per cent of our energy needs.”
A nearly fossil-free energy supply was not the only benefit Iggesund’s new recovery boiler delivered. ‘After the boiler had been fine tuned, it turned out that particle emissions from the mill, which were already low, had been halved,’ the press note said. ‘Sulphur emissions, which contribute to the acidification of surrounding land, have also fallen by more than 80 per cent from what were already low levels.’
And it is not only in Sweden where energy sources have been improved. Just over a year ago, the energy source at Iggesund’s board mill in Workington, England, was changed from natural gas to biomass. ‘Achieving this required the investment of about €122 million in a new biofuel boiler,’ the press note said. ‘Today the mill operates solely on biofuel and in addition to covering its own energy needs it also supplies fossil-free electricity to the UK electricity grid.
“One of the goals driving our investments is long-term sustainability, and the investments in both Iggesund and Workington are the result of that approach,” said Staffan Jonsson, head of Group Technology at the Holmen Group, to which Iggesund belongs.
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