Canadian Manufacturing

Technology helps cellulose mill tap wasted heat for energy

OTTAWA: Thermal Energy International Inc. is helping the Fortress Specialty pulp mill in Thurso, Que. use heat to augment its energy supply.

Thermal Energy’s Forevergreen Energy Inc. subsidiary has signed a $1.8-million arm’s length greenpower purchase agreement with Fortress Specialty Cellulose Inc. to supply recovered energy to the mill using its Flu-Ace waste heat recovery system.

The system, which began operations at the end of June, recycles up to 90% of the heat normally lost through boiler flue gas stack emissions, reducing energy consumption on gas, oil and biomass burners by 15% to 35 per cent.

The agreement, based on the amount of energy recovered, concludes Dec. 31, 2012 with an option for an extension of up to 24 months.

Fraser Papers closed the northern bleached hardwood kraft mill in early 2009 before it entered bankruptcy protection in June, putting approximately 300 out of work.

Fortress Paper
, a Vancouver-based specialty papers manufacturer with mills in Europe, purchased the Thurso operation for $3 million. The mill is undergoing a $153-million conversion to a specialty cellulose plant with a 25-megawatt co-generation facility.

Financing includes $102.4 million from Investissement Quebec, a $15-million convertible debenture with Solidarity Fund QFL and $9.9 million in black liquor credits under a federal pulp and paper green transformation program.

The dissolving grade cellulose is destined for the global textile market for conversion into viscose fibre (rayon), which Fortress says is showing strong growth in China (up 10%) and worldwide (up 7%) over a five-year period.

Fortress Paper said the mill will be capable of producing up to 200,000 air-dried metric tonnes of cellulose and should be operational by mid-2011. The co-generation plant will be supplying energy by the fourth quarter of 2012.

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