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Graphic Packaging expands biomass energy usage at Macon, GA, mill

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Graphic Packaging expands biomass energy usage at Macon, GA, mill

April 21, 2010 - 09:36
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MARIETTA, GA, April 21, 2010 (PRNewswire-FirstCall) -Graphic Packaging International, Inc., a subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Company, recently announced plans to expand utilization of biomass energy in its paperboard mill located in Macon, Georgia. Detailed engineering studies and permitting are in progress. Presently biomass energy generates over 90% of the mill's process steam and 60% of its electric power.

The project will take several years to complete, making the Macon mill self-sufficient from an electrical power and steam generation standpoint. Biomass energy will help stabilize and reduce energy costs and dependency on fossil fuel based alternatives.

Expected project benefits:

  • Will provide energy from a sustainable fiber and energy resource and is carbon neutral, utilizing unused waste from logging operations. Using biomass instead of coal reduces emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide (greenhouse gasses).
  • Will generate approximately 38 megawatts of power annually or enough electrical power to support 26,000 homes per year.
  • Will reduce greenhouse gas (CO2) by over 340,000 tons/year due to reduction of utility load - about the same as removing almost 59,000 passenger cars from the road.
  • Will reduce greenhouse gas (CO2) by over 50,000 tons/year due to idling of a coal-fired boiler - about the same as removing almost 9,000 passenger cars from the road.
  • Will improve air quality with modern combustion & emissions controls.
  • Will reduce Georgia's dependence on fossil fuels (primarily coal).
  • Will contribute to the sustainability of the Macon mill.

"Our mission, to provide packaging that improves the world in which we live, is achieved by engaging in activities that are environmentally responsible, promote stewardship of our natural resources and produce products that add value to our lives," said David Scheible, President and CEO. "This biomass project is another reflection of our commitment to protect our environment through sustainable manufacturing practices - forest management, efficient manufacturing, energy generation and conservation, and fiber recovery and recycling."

The Macon mill is a key component in the middle Georgia economy and an integral part of the forest industry. It directly employs over 500 employees and has a substantial long-term economic impact on the middle Georgia area. The mill presently generates over 900,000 lb/hr of steam and 38 MW of electricity to support its production of approximately 1,600 tons of coated paperboard per day. Additional power required is presently supplied by the public utility.

Graphic Packaging is an active member of the American Forest and Paper Association and the Georgia Forestry Association and invests in research at the University of Georgia to enhance sustainable forestry. Graphic Packaging conducts wood procurement activities under the requirements of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard (SFIS).