Packaging firm DS Smith has announced an investment of EUR90 million at its paper mill in Rouen, France. The project will see DS Smith replacing the coal-fired boiler with a new biomass boiler, which is expected to reduce CO2 emissions at the site by 99,000 tonnes per year.
The 56 MW Valmet high-tech boiler, expected to be fully operational by the first quarter of 2025, will meet at least 80% of the site’s heat requirements.
It will be fuelled by 94,000 tonnes of biofuel, 30% of which will come from plant by-products (pulper waste) and 70% from waste wood sources such as furniture and demolition waste, DS Smith added.
In 2022, the project was approved by the Regional Biomass Scheme and has earned the support of local authorities, including a EUR15m subsidy from the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME).
‘Significant CO2 Savings’
Niels Flierman, head of paper and recycling at DS Smith stated, “Rouen paper mill is a central part of our European operations and an important producer of recycled paper in France, playing a key role in providing the corrugated packaging needed to help replace problem plastics. […] Through the transition away from coal and the installation of a new biomass from waste boiler we will deliver significant CO2 savings to not only help our own operations, but the operations of our customers through their Scope 3 emissions.”
Engie Solutions will operate the boiler, which has the scope for future installation of a steam turbine capable of producing around 10 MW of electricity with a maximum steam supply of 65 t/h.
In addition to the biomass boiler, two new gas-fired boilers (2 x 34 t/h of steam) will complete the backup boiler fleet, which already has an existing gas-fired boiler (34 t/h of steam).
This project is one of several initiatives by DS Smith in Europe and North America that contribute to its goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% in absolute terms by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050.
Founded in 1928, the paper mill in Rouen was the first in France to produce lightweight recycled fluting used in corrugated board.
In 2019, DS Smith acquired the mill, which also produces light, medium and dual-purpose papers for consumer goods and e-commerce packaging. It has an annual production capacity of 280,000 tonnes.
In September, the packaging firm announced an investment of over EUR13 million at its Ghimbav production site in Romania as part of its growth strategy in East Europe.