DS Smith to invest €90M at Rouen paper mill in France to replace coal-fired boiler with new biomass boiler, install two new gas-fired boilers; 56 MW Valmet boiler will supply 80% of site's heat demand, reduce mill's CO2 emissions by 99,000 tonnes/year

Sample article from our Pulp & Paper Industry

November 20, 2023 (press release) –

• Company to replace the use of coal at the site as part of its decarbonization roadmap, reducing sit emissions by 99,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.
• Investment includes €15M French Government subsidy


DS Smith, a world leader in sustainable packaging solutions, today unveiled a major investment to transform the paper mill's energy supply at its site in Normandy, near Rouen. The project includes replacing the coal-fired boiler with a new biomass boiler that will reduce the site's emissions by 99,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. * 

The 56 MW Valmet high-tech boiler will supply at least 80% of the site's heat demand and will be fully operational by the first quarter of 2025. It will be fuelled by 94,000 tonnes of biofuel, 30% of which will come from plant by-products (pulper waste) and 70% from waste wood sources such as furniture and demolition waste. 

Engie Solutions will operate the boiler, which will allow for the possibility for the future installation of a steam turbine capable of producing around 10 MW of electricity with a maximum steam supply of 65 t/h. 

The project was granted approval by the Regional Biomass Scheme in 2022 and is supported by local authorities including a €15M subsidy from the French Agency for Ecological Transition (ADEME).  

Rouen paper mill is a central part of our European operations and an important producer of recycled paper in France, playing a key role in providing the corrugated packaging need to help replace problem plastics.

Niels Flierman
Head of Paper & Recycling at DS Smith

"As with all our operations, delivering large scale carbon reduction initiatives is a key focus for DS Smith as we look to deliver both our immediate and long-term sustainability targets. Through the transition away from coal and the installation of a new biomass from waste boiler we will deliver significant C02 savings to not only help our own operations, but the operations of our customers through their Scope 3 emissions**.”

In addition to the biomass boiler, two new gas-fired boilers (2 x 34 t/h of steam) will complete the back-up boiler fleet already consisting of an existing gas-fired boiler (34 t/h of steam). 

This project of nearly €90 million is one of a number of initiatives in Europe and North America that contribute to DS Smith's goal of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% in absolute terms by 2030, compared with 2019 levels, and achieving net zero emissions by 2050. DS Smith is also participating in the Science-Based Targets (SBTi) initiative with our 1.5°C science-based target in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement. DS Smith is also a member of the United Nations’ led Race to Zero campaign. 

Acquired by DS Smith in 2019, the paper mill in Rouen was founded in 1928 and was the first mill in France to produce lightweight recycled fluting, used in the manufacture of corrugated board. The site also produces light, medium and dual-purpose papers for consumer goods and e-commerce packaging. It has an annual production capacity of 280,000 tonnes. 

*Compared to FY22/23 

**Scope 3 covers emissions that are not produced by the company itself and that do not result from the activities of the assets it owns or controls, but from those for which it is indirectly responsible up and down its value chain. 

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