DS Smith partners with E.ON to build new waste-to-energy and CHP plant at Aschaffenburg recycled paper mill in Germany; plant will use production waste to generate electricity and heat, reduce site's natural gas use by 25%, cut CO2 by 50,000 tonnes/year

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January 17, 2023 (press release) –

• New plant will save 50,000 tonnes of CO2 per year and provide flexibility in energy usage
• Site’s reliance on natural gas to be reduced by 25%
• Plant will use production waste for the integrated generation of electricity and heat

DS Smith, the leading provider of sustainable packaging solutions, and E.ON, one of Europe's largest operators of energy networks and infrastructure, today announced ambitious plans for a new Waste To Energy (WTE) and Combined Heat and Power plant at the Aschaffenburg paper mill in Germany. The new plant will combine technologies to generate energy from production waste at the site with a highly efficient combined heat and power process.

The WTE plant, due to be completed in H2 2025 is being built and operated by E.ON who has worked with DS Smith since summer 2020 to develop a new energy supply solution for the site. The new WTE plant will enable the site to utilize all rejected materials from its paper for recycling stock, ensuring no materials are wasted in the production of its paper.

Saving natural gas and CO2

By integrating waste recycling into the power-heat cycle, a high degree of energy utilization is achieved. This brings a range of benefits for the site, including a reduction of the site’s reliance on natural gas by 25% and savings of 50,000 tonnes of CO2 per year once fully operational[1]. The natural gas saved at the site is the equivalent of supplying heating to a town with 85,000 inhabitants for a year. In addition, DSS and E.ON will take further measures to decarbonise the production, e.g. by shifting to carbon neutral (biogenic) and carbon free (hydrogen) fuels as soon as they are commercially available.

Combined DS Smith and E.ON savings

As a business, we are continually looking at ways to lower our impact on the environment and increase the efficiency of our operations.

Niels Flierman
Head of Paper & Recycling at DS Smith

"Through these new upgrades on site, the mill will have additional flexibility in how and when energy is supplied as well as reducing the amount of carbon emitted on site."

Reshaping the energy supply at the DS Smith mill in Aschaffenburg, one of the most efficient sites within the Group and the industry, was a challenging task.

Manfred Wirsing
Managing Director E.ON Energy Projects

"We are proud to have worked with DS Smith to develop an energy supply solution that contributes to a significant decarbonization of paper production at the site and ensures maximum flexibility in the face of changing energy market conditions. In particular, the high level of digitization and automation makes the new energy supply solution fit for the future"

Adding additional flexibility to the energy supply

The new integrated WTE plant will feature a new WTE boiler with a steam capacity of 36 tonnes per hour, a new fuel handling and storage system, a new back-pressure steam turbine as well as two new natural gas fired boiler units with overall steam capacity of 60 tonnes per hour. These new installations will add additional flexibility to the energy supply at the mill and allows for future potential sustainability benefits including the substitution of natural gas for biogas and the potential for less plastic rejects to be substituted by biofuels.

Furthermore, E.ON IQ Energy will be deployed, an intelligent, plant-based energy supply solution that has been specially developed for energy-intensive industries. At its heart is an automated, self-controlled power plant based on patented hardware and a digital control concept that uses artificial intelligence to optimize the supply in real time. In this way, data from the operation of the power plant and production facilities, the grid and the commodity markets help to make the energy supply efficient and flexible. 

In addition to the new WTE CHP plant that is being built on site, E.ON will also purchase and operate the existing CHP plant on site from January 2023. E.ON will supply DS Smith with energy from the date of transfer as well as manage the on-site operation and take over the management of all DS Smith employees currently operating at the plant. Both companies have been working together in the field of energy supply for several years and – with Kemsley Paper Mill in the UK and Aschaffenburg – are currently realizing two large projects together.

Aschaffenburg Paper Mill, founded in 1872, is one of Europe’s oldest paper mills. The Mill, which produces 440,000 tonnes per year, focuses on lightweight medium paper, using only recycled fibre for production since 1990. With the new upgrades, the site will become a pioneer in efficiency and sustainability as well as digitalization and automation within the DS Smith Group and thus make an important contribution to climate protection.

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