Recycled fuels in focus as Arctic Paper transitions
In Munkedal, Sweden, you find one of the world’s most environmentally friendly paper mills. At the moment, work is in full swing to take the next steps: with a new sustainable energy plant, the mill’s carbon dioxide emissions will be reduced by 30,000 tonnes by 2022. In this series of articles, you can follow the journey of Adven and Arctic Paper towards tomorrow’s sustainable paper production. The first part of the series is about fuel choice and sustainability.
Sustainable transition in practice: Part 1
In Munkedal, 100 kilometers north of Gothenburg, Sweden, you find one of Arctic Paper’s mills. Annually 160,000 tonnes of paper is produced here, making the mill one of the leading manufacturers of uncoated paper in Europe.
The mill in Munkedal is not only a leader in its product category – it is also one of the world’s most environmentally friendly paper mills. Over the past 20 years, Arctic Paper has gradually developed its methods and techniques to become more sustainable. An essential part of that work has been improving the resource efficiency of the mill, reducing emissions and water by purifying and recycling the water used in production. In 2020, a hydropower plant was also commissioned in the area to secure part of the need for renewable electricity.
A couple of years ago, Arctic Paper started planning for the next step: drastically reducing its climate footprint. Since energy production has a significant impact on the mill’s CO2 emissions and reducing these emissions is one of the company’s most important sustainability goals, they started investigating ways to make changes in steam production. The primary source of fuel has previously been natural gas, a so-called virgin and fossil fuel.
“In 2014, we switched from oil to natural gas, and now it’s time for the next step. For us, it was important that we found a long-term solution that helped substantially reduce our greenhouse gas emissions while being economically sustainable,” says Göran Lindqvist, Site Manager at Arctic Paper in Munkedal.
CO2 emissions reduced by 30,000 tonnes
Adven was chosen as a partner for designing an entirely new energy plant for Arctic Paper in Munkedal. The new steam boiler plant with a capacity to deliver 30 MW will be in operation in 2022. The big difference to the previous one is that it will be running entirely on recycled fuels: recycled wood, paper and plastic from other industries and businesses. This way, it gives new life to waste that cannot be recycled or in other ways be used in a circular resource loop. The plant will also be equipped with the best available flue gas treatment technology to meet existing and future environmental requirements for emissions.
With the new steam boiler plant, Arctic Paper will take a huge step forward in its sustainability work by radically reducing the use of natural gas.
“The new solution reduces the annual CO2 emissions of energy production by almost 60%, which means 30,000 tonnes less. This corresponds to the emissions of 12 flights around the world – every day,” says Slavisa Micanovic, Sales Manager at Adven.
Mårten Zakrisson, Fuel Manager at Adven, tells about the process of choosing the right fuel: “There are several things we have had to consider to source the most suitable fuel. It is about finding a balance between availability, quality, energy content – and naturally also costs”.
Flexibility for the future
Energy recovery allows Arctic Paper also to reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfill. That way, emissions are further reduced and less resources are wasted.
“We make energy from materials that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill. As we globally become better at sorting, reusing and recovering energy from waste, we will also be able to adapt the boiler plant so that it can handle other types of fuels,” says Mårten Zakrisson.
Göran Lindqvist believes that the transition to recycled fuel is an essential milestone for Arctic Paper, and it will have an impact that reaches beyond Munkedal:
“This is the first step towards fossil free operations and a major step towards improved resource efficiency and reduced climate impact for us, both locally and in a broader perspective.”
In the next part of this article series, we will tell about the technologies used in the energy transition at Arctic Paper in Munkedal.
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How we calculated:
The estimated reduction of 30 000 tons of CO2 emissions is calculated based on the standard values provided by the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency on natural gas and industrial waste respectively. In the estimated number only the effect on CO2 emissions deriving from the change in fuel to produce steam is included and no other factors are taken into account. In the comparing example we are calculating that airplane travel emits 170g/km.