Australia-based papermaker Visy Industries to spend AU$500M to create new biomass power division, announces initial AU$100M, 30-MW plant at its Tumut mill in Melbourne, followed by AU$50M-$100M plant at Smithfield in Sydney

LOS ANGELES , June 20, 2011 () – Visy Industries Ltd. plans to spend AU$500 million (US$528.1 million) to build green power plants across Australia and create a new business division for the Australia-based papermaker, said Anthony Pratt, the company’s executive chairman, reported The Australian on June 20.

Initially, the company aims to spend AU$100 million to build a 30-megawatt plant at its Tumut pulp and paper mill in southern New South Wales, Pratt said at the official opening of the Tumut mill’s AU$550 million expansion on Saturday.

The Tumut plant, which Pratt envisions “in the not-too-distant future,” would be the second such facility in Australia and the Pratt family’s third in the world. The Pratt family owns Visy and its U.S. associate Pratt Industries Inc., The Australian reported.

The plant would convert waste from the manufacturing process and additional forest wood residue into electricity that would be sold to the power grid, said Pratt, adding that he wanted the Melbourne-based company to be the world leader in waste-based electricity.

Visy expects the next biomass energy plant after the one at Tumut to be constructed at Smithfield in western Sydney, at a cost of AU$50 million to AU$100 million, reported The Australian.

A plant similar to the one proposed for Tumut is being built at Visy’s Coolaroo paper mill and recycling operation in Melbourne, and a US$60 million energy plant that converts manufacturing scraps into gas was commissioned at Pratt Industries in Conyers, Georgia, last year.

A cogeneration plant already in place at the Tumut mill produced 73% of total energy ad 42% of power for the operation in the 2009-2010 financial year, and it generates 190,000 to 250,000 New South Wales greenhouse gas abatement certificates annually, The Australian reported.

Pratt said that he aims to maintain and expand on Visy’s “position as an example of world’s sustainable manufacturing.”

Four years ago, Pratt committed to investing US$1 billion in paper recycling and waste-to-energy infrastructure, during a Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York, reported The Australian.

The primary source of this article is The Australian, Sydney, Australia, on June 20, 2011.

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