Today, the heat from the mill’s wastewater and that recovered from the boiler’s flue gases almost meet Varberg’s entire district heating demands. After additional investments in its power generating capabilities, the plant also supplies electricity to Sweden’s national grid. Södra Cell Värö will soon probably be the world’s first pulp mill to be independent of fossil fuels for its day-to-day operation.
“The whole pulp industry has undergone a major transformation in recent years”, notes Hans Stenberg, Client Manager for Södra Cell at ABB. “Electricity and district heating sales have become an increasingly important part of company operations. One result of this change can be seen in the recovery boiler where the lignin, which is released when the pulp is cooked, is burnt and converted to heating energy. This operation has now been optimized to harvest more energy, both from the boiler and from the flue gases that are created”.
A new turbine that generates more electricity is another example. Södra Cell has also reduced the consumption of heat with more energy-efficient equipment. Even biofuel is in demand, so a dryer was recently commissioned to dry bark, which is then sold on as biofuel to local power stations.
Cellulose is a material with many possibilities. To realize these, Södra Cell is investing considerable resources in product development and research. Investments in future energy supplies are part of these plans, including a new pellet production facility, a new lime kiln for making the mill independent of fossil fuels, plus the erection of three windpower turbines.