Paper Excellence will receive $8.6 million from the B.C. government to help cover the cost of equipment that reduce the use of natural gas and increase energy efficiency at its pulp and paper mills in B.C.
The grant is under the CleanBC Industry Fund, which uses a portion of carbon taxes to subsidize investments that reduce industry’s greenhouse gas profile.
Paper Excellence says it has already reduced its GHG profile – to the tune of a 65% reduction since 1990 -- through fuel switching, in which more wood waste is used to reduce the amount of natural gas burned in its boilers.
Not that burning wood waste, like bark, produces less CO2 than natural gas, but wood waste is considered carbon neutral and renewable, since wood waste will eventaully release GHGs as it decays anyway, whereas natural gas is non-renewable.
Graham Kissack, vice president of environment, health and safety and communications for Paper Excellence, said the CleanBC funding will be used to increase the wood waste already used at its four mills in B.C., thus reducing the use of natural gas. He said the company will also invest in equipment, like heat exchangers, that capture waste heat.
“What we’re doing is we’re making better use of biomass fuels, which are carbon neutral,” Kissack said.
“What these projects are doing is allowing us to make additional reductions of greater than 50,000 tonnes per year. And that represents about a 15% reduction in our carbon footprint. That’s the equivalent of taking 12,000 cars permanently off the road.”
The money will be spent on equipment upgrades at four of the company’s B.C. mills. The grant covers 60% to 80% of the expenditures, with the company covering 20% to 40% of the costs, depending on the project.