HALLEIN, Austria , July 20, 2021 (Press Release) -At a works meeting that took place on Tuesday, July 20, the employees of AustroCel Hallein GmbH were told about the current situation. Production has been at a standstill ever since June 2, when sulfur dioxide leaked from a pulp digester on the premises of the company, during which an employee died. The investigation into the cause of the accident has not yet been completed. The production of pulp and the new bio-ethanol plant are expected to begin their operations again in November. The Management has already implemented measurements to ensure the financial viability of the company in particular short-time working has been requested for the next few months.
Jörg Harbring, Managing Director of AustroCel: “For AustroCel, clarifying the cause of the accident and ensuring occupational and operational safety take center stage. We hope that the investigations will be completed soon and that the reasons for the accident will be clarified in full.” Over the coming weeks and months, all the pressure vessels and pipelines will be checked to ensure the maximum levels of safety. During the shutdown, the caustic boiler will also be modernized, in which 1.7 million euros will be invested.
Bernhard Steinberger, Chairman of the Works Council: “Short-time working is a proven method for supporting a company in getting through hard times. We are convinced that this measure is an important contribution that will enable AustroCel to emerge into the future more strongly. Safety is also the most important factor for the staff representatives.”
About AustroCel Hallein GmbH
AustroCel Hallein GmbH currently has more than 290 employees and is one of the market leaders in China for textile pulp which is made from softwood, with total sales revenue of approximately 130 million euros. Its bio-refinery in Hallein produces up to 160,000 tons of viscose pulp as well as 100 GWh for district heating and 100 GWh of green electricity. Therefore, the Hallein-based high-tech company not only supplies its own production facilities with clean energy, it also provides 28,000 households with green electricity and 13,000 households with district heating. With the biggest wood-based bio-ethanol plant in the world, AustroCel produces up to 30 million liters of second-generation bio-ethanol each year.