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25 Jun 2012

Smurfit Kappa starts up new Biomass energy plant at Spanish paper mill

Smurfit Kappa Nervión increases energy generation from biomass by 40%, significantly reducing fossil CO2 emissions.  

Smurfit Kappa has successfully started up a new steam cogeneration plant of 21,4 MW at its Nervión paper mill in Spain. This is part of a €20M investment project on energy generation from biomass, which will significantly reduce fossil CO2 emissions as well as improving the mill’s profitability.

For Rafael Sarrionandia, General Manager of Smurfit Kappa Nervión, “The objective of this energy project has been to increase the mill’s thermal and electrical energy generation, by increasing the installed equipment efficiency and the capacity of the forest waste treatment plant.”

This industrial and environmental modernisation has been possible thanks to a strategic investment programme.  This includes the acquisition of a multi-functional crusher, that is able to process all forest waste, and a selection and storing system which has increased biomass consumption by 40,000 ton/year, exceeding 100,000 ton.

The biomass cogeneration plant project started in 2009 with an engineering study and equipment purchases. In January 2011 the building phase began. A building has been constructed to house the new steam condensation turbine of 21,4 MW, together with four new refrigeration towers with a water circulation capacity of 2,500 m3/h in a continuous  process.

The mill increases its energy generation capacity by 40% 

Thanks to this project Smurfit Kappa Nervión has increased its energy generation by over 40%, exceeding the yearly production of 120,000 MWh, and reaching 65% of energy self-consumption.

The biomass waste used as fuels is typically from black liquor (a sub-product obtained from the cooking of wood and bark from sawmills and from the debarking of pulp-logs used for the mill process). The new crushing line, however, allows other forest waste to be used such as land cleaning, pruning and thinning, enhancing sustainable forest management and helping to keep the forest clean.

A strategic and environmental investment programme of €50M

The biomass energy plant is part of a series of strategic and environmental investment programme which started in 2008 with a €20M expenditure in paper machine quality and efficiency improvement. This was followed by a €5M investment in the start-up of a new odourous gas and foul condensate treatment plant, and has been concluded with the start-up of a power substation, changing the mill’s input voltage from 30,000 V to 132,000 V.

With a total of €50M invested in Smurfit Kappa Nervion between 2008 and 2012, this paper mill is enhancing its position in terms of efficiency and cost reduction. Furthermore, Smurfit Kappa Nervión has reinforced its commitment to green energy, with sustainable forest management and the protection and respect for the environment in general.