Green EnergyClimate change and carbon emissions are an increasing global environmental concern that leaves no business unaffected. Mercer's advantage is our well-established use of green biofuels. 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 more advanced and efficient fiber processing technologies and new modern production assets make us a leader in carbon efficiency.
Cellulose fibers make up approximately one-half of Northern Softwood, with the remainder being energy-rich wood extractives, such as lignin. The Kraft pulp process used at all of Mercer's mills dissolves and separates the lignin from the wood fibers. The non-cellulose wood components are collected, concentrated and burned to generate steam and recover reusable chemicals. Our mills have been designed with high-efficiency recovery boilers to maximize the production of steam for the generation of green electricity. Another environmental design component of these boilers is that this process is carried out with very low air emissions discharged to atmosphere.
All three of Mercer's mills are able to generate more electricity than they consume, allowing the excess green electricity to be sold at "green" rates. The two German mills sell power under the recently amended Renewable Energy Resources Act. During the fourth quarter of 2010, Celgar completed the installation of a second turbine which now enables that mill to sell significant amounts of excess power. Mercer's total installed generating capacity is approximately 260 MW.
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