Cogeneration turbines aid in for production of paper
Lucart, a leading Italian paper company, has set lofty sustainability goals, as seen by its award-winning Natural Project. The ambitious collaboration with Tetra Pak repurposes the materials found in the ubiquitous food and drink cartons.
It’s no surprise that Lucart is a pioneer in the pulp and paper sector when it comes to energy efficiency. To increase energy efficiency at its paper factories, which are all located in scenic Tuscany, the company turned to cogeneration — the usage of a CHP (combined heat and power system).
Self-generated electricity is high on the Lucart Group’s sustainability priority list. “In the late ’80s and early ’90s, we put a lot of money into those first cogeneration plants,” recalls Tommaso De Luca, Lucart’s Corporate Communication Manager. “Paper production necessitates a lot of power, as well as steam and heat, making our goal of net zero by 2050 a significant challenge.”
Production of Sustainable Paper
The difficulty of using renewable and recycled raw materials
Lucart is also interested in renewable energy, and where it is practicable, it uses solar panels in its operations. “However, because our industry operates 24 hours a day, we want consistent and stable energy generation at all times of the day and night, which photovoltaic energy provides.”
Lucart is using more recycled resources than ever before in its tissue, air-laid, and machine-glazed papers. It is essential to the circular economy, but it also consumes more energy. “By 2021, recycled paper will account for 54 percent of our raw materials,” De Luca said. “Yes, recycled paper requires more energy inside our gates, but when you consider the complete lifecycle of a paper product, recycled paper has a smaller impact than the creation of virgin pulp.” As a result, we must expand our use of recycled paper while also decarbonizing and reducing our energy consumption. It’s still another significant challenge.”
How CHP gas turbines power energy-intensive paper manufacturing
Although there are regulatory hurdles to overcome, biomass waste could be a viable feedstock for the paper industry. “To meet our decarbonization goal and be energy efficient, we need to find all of those alternative options.” With all of the geopolitical challenges we’re dealing with, especially in Europe, we’re talking a lot about energy prices, so we need to cut our energy costs as well.”
Sustainability, according to De Luca, encompasses more than just environmental aims for Lucart. He adds, “We’re also focusing on social and governance — the ESG approach.” “The paper industry is at the forefront of this.” We’ve handled the fibre issue: all of our raw materials in Italy and other European nations are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) or PEFC certified.
As individuals try to avoid single-use plastics in order to save the environment, paper is becoming more popular. De Luca’s excitement is measured. “All money has two faces,” he explains. “On one hand, we are glad that paper is so vital and that more single-use food items will be produced of it. However, we must also comprehend how these goods will be manufactured. Food boxes, like Tetra Pak cartons, are complex; they are constructed of multiple materials, so we need to know if we’ll be able to recycle all of these single-use paper things that will be on the market shortly.
The Natural Project between Lucart and Tetra Pak resulted in the development of a new procedure for separating the components of the packs and the creation of two entirely new materials, one for paper products and the other for paper-product dispensers. It has assured that these practical cartons are now and in the future part of the circular economy.
While Lucart’s enhanced CHP cogeneration power system improves the company’s energy efficiency today, the company’s future energy potential are already visible. The turbines are also prepared to run on tomorrow’s fuels.