FRANCE – British packaging company DS Smith has announced investing €90 million (US$98.25m) to support the sustainable transformation of energy supply at its Rouen paper mill in Normandy, France.

As part of the effort, the coal-fired boiler at the paper mill will be replaced with a biomass boiler that will help Smith in meeting at least 80% of the site’s heat demand.

The move is expected to minimize the Rouen site’s overall carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by up to 99,000 tonnes every year, compared with financial year 2022/2023.

This new 56MW biomass boiler, which will be provided by Valmet, is planned to commence operations in the first quarter (Q1) of 2025.

Valmet’s high-tech boiler will utilize approximately 94,000 tonnes of biofuel, out of which 30% will derive from plant byproducts such as pulper waste, and 70% from waste wood sources, including furniture and demolition waste.

The boiler will be operated by Engie Solutions, with a possibility of installing a steam turbine in future to support the production of 10MW electricity along with a steam supply of up to 65 tonnes an hour.

Smith Paper & Recycling head Niels Flierman said, “Rouen paper mill is a central part of our European operations and an important producer of recycled paper in France, playing a key role in providing the corrugated packaging need to help replace problem plastics.

“Through the transition away from coal and the installation of a new biomass from waste boiler we will deliver significant CO₂ savings to not only help our own operations, but the operations of our customers through their scope 3 emissions.”

Smith said that the project has already received approval under the Regional Biomass Scheme in 2022. The French Agency for Ecological Transition has also provided a €15m subsidy for this project.

In September, the packaging company announced a US$13.7 million investment for its Ghimbav production facility in Transylvania, central Romania.

DS Smith says that this investment will support ongoing plastic replacement with customers, increase capacity by over 20%, and significantly boost productivity.

With a continued focus on innovation, the investment will further differentiate DS Smith in the market by supporting customers in achieving their environmental targets.

The investment is part of DS Smith Packaging’s ambitious growth strategy in East Europe, aimed at establishing leadership in sustainable packaging solutions throughout the region while creating value for its customers and partners.

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