Forest products group Mondi has announced plans to install a 47 MW steam turbine at its Richards Bay mill, in KwaZulu-Natal, which will further increase the facility’s power self-sufficiency and produce surplus electricity for input into the South African grid.
Mondi tells Engineering News that it has secured a licence for the development from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa and that its current sales contracts for the export energy do not require wheeling tariffs.
The plant is expected to begin operating in November 2013 and will materially bolster self-generation at the mill, which already stands at 86% – the mill invested in a 27 MW gas turbine in 2006, as well as in a heat recovery programme.
The investment forms part of a larger €170-million package of energy-related projects being undertaken by the London- and Johannesburg-listed company. Other projects include a bark boiler at Syktyvkar, in Russia, a steam turbine and recovery boiler economiser at Stambolijski, in Bulgaria, and a new recovery boiler at Frantschach, in Austria.
Mondi South Africa CEO Ron Traill said the project also offered a platform for the further use of biomass from forest by-products and wood residues.
The renewable-energy portion used to power the turbine would be sourced from a combination of biomass from forest residues and black liquor, or lignin separated during the cooking process of pulpwood.
The group says the turbine will be a multi-extraction unit combining three levels of steam pressure extraction and a condensing portion and will complete the mill’s ability to maximise cogeneration in the medium-term. It also allows for a future fuel switch on a portion of the generation to biomass, should viable tariffs be secured.
The main equipment orders had been placed with Zest Energy, a subsidiary of the Zest WEG group, and Bosch Projects had been awarded the engineering portion of the project.