The project includes design upgrades to the mill’s existing combination biomass boiler, a new biomass handling system and a new turbine generator.
The improvements delivered 28 MW of additional green energy for consumption within the mill. Equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by 18,000 homes in a year.
The boiler upgrades enable the mill to use waste 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 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.
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.