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Papierfabrik Palm breaks ground on Wörth CHP plant upgrade and expansion

In Germany, Papierfabrik Palm GmbH & Co. KG (Palm), a leading European manufacturer of newsprint and corrugated base paper made from 100 percent recovered fibre, has held a groundbreaking ceremony at its Wörth am Rhein paper mill. The event marks the start of construction for the upgrade and expansion of the paper mill's combined heat and power (CHP) plant including the installation of the world's first new-generation gas turbine from Siemens.

On February 11, 2020, Papierfabrik Palm GmbH & Co. KG (Palm) held a groundbreaking ceremony marking the start of construction for the EUR 100 million upgrades and expansion of the combined heat and power (CHP) at its Wörth am Rhein paper mill in Germany (photo courtesy Palm).

Held on February 11, 2020, an estimated EUR 100 million is being invested in the novel project which includes a new boiler for paper mill waste, integrated with the first gas turbine installation worldwide of a completely new generation from Siemens. The gas turbine can be operated with natural gas with up to 50 percent blend of hydrogen.

Thanks to the increased flexibility of the modernized, highly efficient power plant, it can be started up and shut down very quickly in order to react to and compensate for the increasing load fluctuations in the grid.

With its large-scale power plant project, the Palm paper mill in Wörth is the ideal partner for the energy strategy being promoted by the German government. The German government is pursuing the goal of implementing decentralized power plants based on the principle of localized combined heat and power (CHP) generation. This concept eliminates long transmission lines and the associated power losses.

According to the company, the new power plant in Wörth pursues and supports three objectives of the energy transition:

  • Decarbonization through the expansion of residual waste recycling capacities. For example, the fuel energy contained in residual materials is used to dry the paper web and substitute fossil energy sources;
  • Decentralization through local and expanded electricity production. This will not only supply the paper mill but also the town of Wörth and neighbouring communities with electricity;
  • Flexibility through the most modern gas turbine. This allows for grid fluctuations, which for example are caused by the feed-in of renewable energy, to be optimally compensated.
    The paper mill in Wörth started production in 2002. It is still the world’s largest paper machine for the production of corrugated base paper and continues to be one of the most efficient plants.

Papierfabrik Palm expects the packaging market to continue to grow in the future. For this reason, EUR 500 million is also being invested at the same time in the main plant in Aalen, Germany. A new paper machine will replace three older plants at the mill from 2021.

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