Norske Skog mulls biomass project at Golbey mill

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Norske Skog mulls biomass project at Golbey mill

November 30, 2015 - 13:50
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BRUSSELS, (RISI) - Norske Skog has teamed up with the technology company Biométhodes, which develops second generation biorefining of non-food biomass, in order to build a biorefinery at its 600,000 tonne/yr Golbey newsprint mill in France.

The project is called BioSkog and will see the two firms study and construct first a pilot unit in 2016 and then a commercial-scale biorefinery at the site. The latter will have a planned processing capacity of some 40,000 tonnes/yr of biomass and will be operational by 2018.

“The goal of this project is to better leverage the rich chemical value of wood biomass along with the specificity of the abundant forestry resources of the Lorraine region by converting woody material into sustainable intermediates that can be used by the chemical industry as an alternative to fossil carbon resources,” Biométhodes owner Arbiom said in a statement.

The project will require an investment of about Euro 40 million ($42 million), according to a spokesperson for Biométhodes.

“Beyond the direct creation of 40 jobs for the operation of the biorefinery and the activity of the new partner on Golbey’s site, this will economically strengthen Norske Skog Golbey. The BioSkog project will lead to the validation of a new industrial model for forestry material that will then be replicable to other paper mill sites and other forest-rich areas in France and throughout the world,” Norske Skog Golbey CEO Yves Bailly said in a statement.

Headquartered in North Carolina in the USA, Arbiom develops solutions to convert non-food biomass into intermediates suitable for the chemicals and fuels industries.

Job cuts planned for Golbey: Moreover, Norske Skog also plans to decrease the headcount at its Golbey mill. The local radio station Magnum la Radio said that the firm has launched a plan called “Cap 2018” which will see the staff decrease from the current 375 employees to 325 workers over a three-year period through voluntary departures.

“We can confirm that we have launched a downsizing plan and that, as always with these processes, discussions with employee representatives are carried out,” a Norske Skog spokesperson said, without commenting on the figures mentioned by the radio station.