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Mercer Plans Steam Turbine for German Plant

Pulp company Mercer International Inc. has announced a project to increase production and efficiency through initiatives including the installation of an additional 40 MW steam turbine at its mill in Stendal, Germany.

The project, titled Project Blue Mill, is designed to increase the mill’s (pictured) annual pulp production capacity by 30,000 air-dried metric tons to 675,000 ADMT, Mercer said.

The new turbine is also expected to initially produce an additional 109,000 MWh of surplus renewable energy annually. Mercer expects to raise about €7.5 million ($9.8 million) in extra revenue by selling the surplus power.

Project Blue Mill will require about €40 million in capital expenditures over about 21 months. The project is eligible for €12 million of non-refundable German government grants and the Stendal mill has secured a new €17 million five year amortizing secured term debt facility, of which 80 percent will be government guaranteed, Mercer said.

Operating a paper mill is traditionally very energy intensive. So much so, that in November last year the Pacific Northwest’s Bonneville Power Administration started pushing excess power to a local Nippon Paper Industries mill.

The utility’s wind farms regularly create more power than it can handle, so Bonneville started using the Port Angeles, Wash., mill and a centrally controlled network of water and space heaters located in peoples homes to use up the extra energy.

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