Verso Paper Completes Renewable Energy Project Michigan Mill

Jan. 9, 2012 - Verso Paper said that it has completed a $45 million renewable energy project at its pulp and paper mill in Quinnesec, Michigan (USA). The project includes design upgrades to the mill’s existing combination boiler (which burns biomass from waste wood sources), a new biomass handling system, and a new turbine generator. The project is delivering 28 megawatts of additional green energy for consumption within the mill, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by 18,000 homes in a year.

“The completion of the Quinnesec renewable energy project is a milestone in the implementation of Verso’s long-term energy strategy,” said Verso President and CEO Mike Jackson. “Besides delivering annual energy savings, the project helps Verso deliver on our commitment to increase our use of renewable biofuel and thereby reduce our carbon footprint.”

The boiler upgrades enable the mill to use renewable, carbon-neutral, wood-based biofuel for more than 95 percent of its on-site electricity generation. The new biomass handling system expands the mill’s capabilities for processing residual wood such as tree tops, limbs and bark. Verso ensures that the expanded harvesting of this logging residue meets forest sustainability standards.

The mill’s boilers also will continue to burn black liquor, a byproduct of the wood pulping process.

“In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, these improvements will improve boiler combustion and efficiency and will markedly reduce the mill’s reliance on electricity produced from fossil fuels,” said Verso Vice President of Energy and Technology Mark Daniel. Verso began ordering major components for the project in May 2010, construction was begun in October 2010, and the project was completed with the commissioning of the new turbine earlier this month.

SOURCE: Verso Paper Corp.