Last updateThu, 03 Dec 2020 4pm

"Future Energy Plant" - The project for a sustainable future

Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf sets new standards in the paper industry with the successful commissioning of the energy plants
After an ambitious construction phase of almost two years, the new energy plants at the Nettingsdorf site were successfully commissioned in June 2020. This marks the end of the largest project in the history of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, with an investment sum of around 134 million euros. The new facilities, which will enable the paper mill to further optimise energy use at the site, are a major contribution to increasing the sustainability and efficiency of the leading producer of corrugated base paper.

"With the commissioning of the state-of-the-art energy plants, we are today taking a significant step together into the future of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf," explains Günter Hochrathner, CEO Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, in his introduction. The new plants are part of the Future Energy Plant Project, which aims to secure and further optimise the energy efficiency of the Nettingsdorf site. In addition to the construction of the lye combustion boiler, the completed project included a new steam turbine and various extensions and adjustments in upstream and downstream plants.
"This major investment is a clear commitment to Upper Austria as a business and employment location. At the same time, it is both a mandate and confirmation of the path we are taking in terms of provincial politics. With the "Upper Austria Plan" we want to strengthen companies to invest massively in research and development and to focus on the training and further education of skilled workers. This will secure the location and jobs in the province and make Upper Austria strong again. Sustainability in paper production is an important contribution to the careful use of our raw materials and resources and underlines the high level of responsibility that companies such as Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf live by. This means that 'Made in Upper Austria' and sustainability are combined", emphasises Governor Thomas Stelzer.
Paper has been produced at the Nettingsdorf site since 1851. The company is one of the leading producers of corrugated base paper in Europe. The products manufactured - the Nettingsdorfer KRAFTLINER and Nettingsdorfer TESTLINER - are used in the packaging industry to produce corrugated board.
The new plants enable the optimum use of wood as a raw material and a further increase in energy efficiency, which is already high at present, with only a slight increase in production volume. Thanks to this modernisation, sustainability competence can be further improved. As a result, Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf will in future even produce in a much more environmentally friendly way than required by the strict European regulations. "With the modernisation of the plants as part of the Future Energy Plant project, Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf is continuing on its path to industrial excellence. Thanks to the professional implementation, the company is well equipped for new growth and development in the coming decades. This increases the value for our customers and shareholders", summarises Reinhard Reiter, CEO Virgin Fibre Cluster.
Investment total: 134 million euros
Start of implementation: September 2018
Commissioning: June 2020
Lye combustion boiler: Andritz company (max. 180 t steam/hour)
Steam turbine: Siemens (max. 28 MW)
Steam storage: Bertsch (storage capacity 30 t steam)
Motivation and goals
The objective of the approximately 134 million euro project was to modernise the existing energy facilities and thus secure the location - above all production capacity and jobs - in the long term. "With the new, efficient energy plants, which correspond to the latest state of the art and are decisive in paper production, we can continue to meet our demands in terms of quality, quantity and sustainability," says Günter Hochrathner, CEO Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, explaining the motivation behind the project. In addition to securing the site, the promotion of sustainability was another decisive factor in the modernisation of the plants. Minimising the impact on the environment is just as important as increasing energy efficiency.
"The main motivation, however, is and remains our sustainable product, the kraftliner, of whose quality, properties and potential we are 100% convinced. Renewable, recyclable, easily biodegradable raw materials and the resulting environmentally friendly packaging solutions are the future. With our 'smart' product, in combination with the ultra-modern energy systems, we are thus making an important contribution to the issue of sustainability and consequently to climate protection," says Günter Hochrathner, CEO Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, describing the motives for implementing this major project.
Many facets of sustainability
With the new lye incineration boiler, supplied by Andritz, steam production from biomass increases to up to 180 tons of steam per hour. The steam accumulator from Bertsch, for storing short-term excess quantities, has a volume of 30 t of steam. The steam turbine with the maximum output of 28 megawatts comes from Siemens. It is precisely adapted to the needs of the location. The energy generated could supply around 40,000 households with electricity and heat.
In addition to increasing energy efficiency, thanks to highly efficient combined heat and power, the modern systems also ensure a massive reduction in emissions. The new boiler extracts energy very efficiently from the biomass contained in the waste liquor from pulp production. This means that (fossil) CO2 emissions can be greatly reduced. There is also a reduction in odor and fine dust emissions. The aim is to reduce (fossil) CO2 emissions by 40,000 t, which corresponds to around two thirds of the current emissions at the site and even 1.5% of the entire Smurfit Kappa Group.
Reinhard Reiter, CEO Virgin Fiber Cluster, sums up the sustainability concept of the entire group: “At Smurfit Kappa we strive for constant economic activity. The Future Energy Plant project is part of a larger investment program by the Smurfit Kappa Group to further optimize sustainability. Thanks to this strategy, we can ensure a long-term supply of high-quality, environmentally friendly packaging solutions, as our customers expect from us. "
Big projects - big dimensions and challenges
The size of the completed project is also reflected in the vast amounts of material and working time that were invested up to commissioning. In more than 850,000 working hours, performed at the Nettingsdorf location, with up to 400 external employees, around 8,000 m³ of concrete were built, steel structures and boiler parts with a weight of around 2,000 tons each were processed and 13,000 pipe welds were made. “We have had turbulent times behind us, not just because of the corona pandemic. The largest construction project in the history of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf in the middle of the company premises caused quite a few challenges, "says Günter Hochrathner, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, looking back on the almost 2-year construction phase.
The coordination of the companies involved as well as the integration, testing and commissioning of the new system while production was running also required precise planning and continuous coordination with all those involved. "We are particularly proud that the major project was completed on schedule despite the considerable difficulties and safety precautions due to the corona pandemic," emphasizes Günter Hochrathner, CEO of Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf.
Promising first months of operation
The first expected successes have been evident since the systems were commissioned in summer 2020. In addition to the efficiency increases already achieved in the liquor combustion boiler and the steam turbine, the energetic optimization of the overall system (paper and pulp production) is currently being implemented. The emission data of the liquor incineration boiler compared to the old system (Sept. 2019 to Sept. 2020) also speak for themselves. The sulfur dioxide emissions could be reduced to less than a tenth and the dust emissions and total reduced sulfur compounds to less than a fifth. In addition, a major diffuse odor source has been eliminated. “We are very satisfied with the commissioning and the process of integrating the new systems so far. Apart from a few minor “teething troubles”, there were no major problems - that is not a given for a project of this size and complexity. The numerically visible reduction in emissions has also occurred, as has the increase in energy efficiency. Thanks to the great commitment of our employees and all the companies involved, we were able to successfully bring the largest project for us to date to a successful conclusion despite the complex Corona restrictions, ”says Günter Hochrathner, CEO Smurfit Kappa Nettingsdorf, with satisfaction.


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