Carbon FootprintIncreasing environmental concerns such as global warming, climate change and carbon emissions is a worldwide trend that is leaving no business unaffected. To Mercer's advantage, use of green biofuels is well-established, as these fuels meet more than 90% of our mills' energy needs. Fossil fuel use is limited to our mills' start-up phase, process disruptions and the lime kilns. While the pulp industry as a whole is not a large net emitter of carbon because of its extensive biofuel use, Mercer's new modern production assets and more advanced and efficient fiber processing technologies make us a leader in carbon efficiency.
How is the "green" power produced?
Northern softwood consists of approximately 50% cellulose fibers, with much of the remainder being an energy-rich, glue-like substance called lignin. The kraft pulp process used at all of Mercer's mills dissolves and separates the lignin from the cellulose fibers, allowing the non-cellulose wood components such as lignin to be extracted and burned to generate steam. Our mills have been designed with high-efficiency recovery boilers that maximize production of steam, which we then use to generate green electricity. In fact, the Rosenthal and Stendal mills are able to generate more electricity than they consume, allowing the excess green electricity to be sold. In 2007 Celgar achieved a milestone, joining our other two mills in producing more electricity than it consumed. We have determined that with additional investments, our mills, particularly Celgar, have the potential to generate even more surplus green electricity.
With the combination of our modern equipment and state-of-the-art technology, our pulp production has minimal environmental impact as we strive towards carbon neutrality at all three facilities.
Fossil fuels at all three operations are limited to the lime kilns and to operational startup. Ongoing efforts are focused on limiting our dependence on this fuel. The steam generated during the incineration of process liquors and wood waste generates approximately 90 megawatts of "green" electric power a day. This allows our mills to be electrically self-sustaining. At the Stendal mill, for example, an average surplus of 35 megawatts of power is exported to the local power grid. This maximum usage of residual heat generates ideal renewable "green" energy.
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