Memphis, Tennessee, USA, 09 January 2012 -- Verso Paper Corp. (NYSE:VRS) today announced that the company has completed a USD 45 million renewable energy project at its pulp and paper mill in Quinnesec, Michigan. The project includes design upgrades to the mill's existing combination boiler (which burns biomass from waste wood sources), a new biomass handling system, and a new turbine generator. The project is delivering 28 megawatts of additional green energy for consumption within the mill, which is equivalent to the amount of electricity consumed by 18,000 homes in a year.
“The completion of the Quinnesec renewable energy project is a milestone in the implementation of Verso’s long-term energy strategy,” said Mike Jackson, Verso president and CEO. “Besides delivering annual energy savings, the project helps Verso deliver on our commitment to increase our use of renewable biofuel and thereby reduce our carbon footprint.”
The boiler upgrades enable the mill to use renewable, carbon-neutral, wood-based biofuel for more than 95% of its on-site electricity generation. The new biomass handling system expands the mill's capabilities for processing residual wood such as tree tops, limbs, and bark. Verso ensures that the expanded harvesting of this logging residue meets forest sustainability standards. The mill's boilers also will continue to burn black liquor, a byproduct of the wood pulping process.
“In addition to reducing our carbon footprint, these improvements will improve boiler combustion and efficiency and will markedly reduce the mill’s reliance on electricity produced from fossil fuels,” said Mark Daniel, Verso vice president of Energy and Technology.
Verso began ordering major components for the project in May 2010, construction was begun in October 2010, and the project was completed with the commissioning of the new turbine earlier this month.
Based in Memphis, Tennessee, Verso Paper Corporation is a leading North American producer of coated papers, including coated groundwood and coated freesheet, and specialty products. Verso’s paper products are used primarily in media and marketing applications, including magazines, catalogs, and commercial printing applications such as high-end advertising brochures, annual reports, and direct-mail advertising. Additional information about Verso is available at www.versopaper.com.