Smurfit Kappa has completed a large-scale sustainability project at its Zülpich paper mill in Germany, which significantly reduces the plant’s CO2 emissions. The €11.5 million investment included a major redesign of the plant’s multi-fuel boiler to provide a more sustainable fuel source for the generation of steam and electricity.
The mill, which produces approximately 500,000 tonnes of paper annually, is now powered by a combination of its own biogas, which is a by-product of its circular water treatment plant, natural gas, and the residual materials or so-called ‘rejects’ which occur in the paper recycling process that would otherwise be considered waste.
The project reduces CO2 emissions at the Zülpich paper mill by more than 25% and saves 55,000 tonnes of CO2 annually, which represents a 2% reduction in Smurfit Kappa’s global CO2 emissions. Smurfit Kappa has the goal of achieving a 55% intensity reduction in fossil CO2 emissions by 2030 and at least net zero CO2 emissions by 2050. The packaging leader has also had its 2030 emissions reductions targets validated by the Science Based Targets initiative as being in-line with the Paris agreement.
The Zülpich circular approach also extends beyond its own operations to create loops with Smurfit Kappa’s Parenco and Roermond paper mills in the Netherlands. The rejects from Parenco and Roermond are a valuable source of fuel for Zülpich’s boiler.
Commenting on the Zülpich project, Pim Wareman, CEO of the Smurfit Kappa Recycled Paper Cluster, said: “The unveiling of this state-of-the-art multi-fuel boiler is yet another example of how, at Smurfit Kappa, sustainability is part of our DNA. The project shows that economic efficiency and sustainability are by no means mutually exclusive but can go together hand in hand taking the mill on a very positive journey.”
Andreas Zeitlinger, Managing Director of the Zülpich paper mill, added: “We are delighted to have this high-performing new boiler up and running. This investment has reinforced our commitment to a circular business model. By turning side streams from the paper manufacturing process such as the rejects and biogas into steam and electricity, we are well on track to meet our sustainability targets.”
The Zülpich mill is currently planning a series of initiatives over the coming months to further enhance its sustainability performance.