The company’s owner, paper group Holmen, is planning to switch the whole of the Workington mill’s energy supply from fossil-based natural gas to biofuels.
Under the plans, which follow a similar investment at Iggesund’s mill in Sweden, a new recovery boiler that burns biofuels will mean that the plant becomes self-sufficient in electricity.
The new set-up is expected to output 150 MW and will supply all the mill’s energy needs, both as electricity and as thermal energy in the form of steam. Iggesund said the new plant will produce an estimated 325 GWh of electricity and 420 GWh of thermal energy annually.
Iggesund’s Workington mill produces around 200,000 tonnes of the Incada brand of folding box board and employs close to 400 people.
Iggesund Paperboard’s UK managing director Ola Schultz-Eklund said: “This investment clearly demonstrates our ambition to develop our paperboard production at Workington.”
The latest investment comes hot on the heels of a £3.6m spend last year to rebuild the refiners in Iggesund’s pulp mill.
Schultz-Eklund said a £2bn initiative, “Britain’s Energy Coast”, which aims to make West Cumbria a centre of excellence for low-carbon energy production, had inspired the decision to build the new plant.
“The Energy Coast initiative was definitely both a source of energy and knowledge to bring this project to the decision-making stage,” he said.
“With this investment and the resulting radical restructuring of our energy supply, we will become a world-class producer of folding box board, thanks in part to the environmental aspects of our production. And I am positive those aspects will only become more important as time goes on.”