Sappi touts environmental progress at its Cloquet, Minnesota, kraft pulp and coated paper mill, tells U.S. Sen. Franken during his visit that the mill's carbon footprint is arguably the lowest in the industry worldwide

LOS ANGELES , January 23, 2012 () –

Sappi Fine Paper North America’s mill in Cloquet, Minnesota, arguably has the lowest carbon footprint in the industry globally, the company told U.S. Sen. Al Franken when he visited the operation on Wednesday, reported the Pine Journal on Jan. 24.

Franken was touring facilities in Minnesota to support his “Back to Work Minnesota” initiative, launched last October to create jobs and improve energy efficiency by retrofitting existing buildings.

Improvements at the Cloquet kraft pulp and coated paper mill have increase energy efficiency and made the manufacturing process more environmentally friendly. Unlike other kraft pulp mills, “you really can’t smell this one,” said Rick Dwyer, the mill’s manager, the Pine Journal reported.

The mill has a carbon dioxide equivalent of just 200 kilograms per ton of paper produced, well below the industry average of 1,200 to 1,500 kilograms/ton, said Rob Schilling, the mill’s environmental manager.

Energy usage at the mill has been cut by 20% over the past 10 years through a combined heat and power plant that generates power and thermal energy by burning biomass, while 98% of the process water is effectively treated and returned to the watershed, reported the Pine Journal.

Franken praised the energy process and was asked by Dwyer to support pending legislation that would regulate the use of biomass to generate fuel.

The most recent investment in the mill is a US$170-million conversion to producing chemical cellulose used to make rayon, which Dwyer said would “reinvigorate this mill for the next 20 years into a market that's growing at a rate of 8% a year.”

Work on the conversion is expected to begin this year. Once completed in 2013, the mill will be able to produce 330,000 tonnes per year of chemical cellulose, the Pine Journal reported

Sappi Fine Paper North America is a Boston, Massachusetts-based company that produces coated fine and release papers.

The primary source of this article is the Pine Journal, Cloquet, Minnesota, on Jan. 24, 2012.


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