Meaningful energy conversion in Pöls: Electricity and heat for the Mur valley

Every year about 2 million solid cubic meters of thinning wood and sawing leftovers are processed by Zellstoff Pöls AG into pulp and paper. Already for many years, the production of pulp has been almost independent of fossil fuels, as the whole energy needs of the production process can entirely be covered through own generation. Due to Zellstoff Pöls AG’s investments in new technologies by now there is enough excess energy to, on the one hand, be able to supply the households in the districts Judenburg, Murau and Knittelfeld entirely with green electricity from renewable energy. On the other hand, a long-distance heating project is about to be implemented, which, starting from the end of the year, will supply about 15,000 households in the region Judenburg, Zeltweg and Fohnsdorf with heat.

Electricity for three districts

Since May, Zellstoff Pöls AG’s new steam turbine makes sure that a large part of the steam arising at the pulp production is transformed into electrical energy. With this green electricity from renewable energy, which is fed into the public grid, about 50,000 households can be provided with electricity – thus, e.g. all households in the districts Judenburg, Knittelfeld and Murau. DI Dr. Kurt Maier, CEO of Zellstoff Pöls AG, “The employment of the new steam turbine with an efficiency factor of more than 85 percent, significantly contributes to a CO2-neutral electric power generation in the region – which makes us very proud.” Zellstoff Pöls AG invested about 25 million Euros in the steam turbine and accompanying structural measures.
Annually, about 150 GWh of green electricity are generated. Converted to the electricity generation with fossil energy sources, this means reduction of about 80,000 tons of fossil CO2 per year – a modern mid-range car would emit this amount if it went 13 times around the Earth.

© Foto Thomas Leitner

Long-distance heating project for the region

Still under construction is another project for meaningful energy conversion: Currently about 14 km of a long-distance heating transmission route are laid – these shall in further consequence provide around 15,000 households in the region Judenburg, Zeltweg and Fohnsdorf with long-distance heating, which is also gained from the pulp production. Zellstoff Pöls AG invests about 18 million Euros in order to gain greater independence from fossil fuels for the region and to meaningfully use the waste heat from the pulp production.
The advantage compared to conventional biomass heating plants lies in the fact that in the pulp production, the wood is first materially utilized and only afterwards and with very high efficiency the energetic reutilization takes place. Additional advantages are the possibility of a simple expansion of the grid, the high security of supply, the traffic clearing due to less resource transport and in further consequence less emissions in the region. With the project, which will be operative by the end of the year, the annual CO2 emissions will be reduced by an additional 25,000 tons of fossil CO2.

© Foto Thomas Leitner

Constant advancement through investments in the environment

With the high investments into the ideal utilization of the wood value chain, Zellstoff Pöls AG constantly takes crucial development steps in the development of sustainable energy efficiency. DI Dr. Kurt Maier, “We installed an energy management system in the pulp plant, which ensures a constant improvement of the energy use, the energy efficiency and the optimum utilization of the wood value chain. The wood is not only used for the production of a high-quality product, but the production process is also used for the generation of energy.” The provision of excess energy from pulp production shall be further expanded during the next few years.
At the site of Zellstoff Pöls AG, paper and pulp have been produced since 1700. Zellstoff Pöls AG, with more than 350 employees and about 200 million sales, belongs to the strongest-selling companies in the upper Mur valley. The company is the largest manufacturer of high-quality elemental chlorine-free (ECF) bleached softwood sulphate pulp in Central and South East Europe. Pöls pulp is highly regarded primarily due to its consistent quality and its resulting versatile applicability, respectively.
Pöls ORION pulp – which is the brand name - is mainly used to produce high quality printing and writing paper as well as newsprint, tissue, label and copy paper, respectively also coated papers and specialty papers. The prime markets are Italy, Austria, Slovenia, France and Germany, the countries in the Mediterranean area as well as increasingly also new EU partner countries.

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