Verso Paper to generate power with biomass CHP

By | December 01, 2010

Verso Paper Corp.’s mill in Bucksport, Maine, is eliminating the use of fossil fuels with the installation of a 25-megawatt biomass-fuelled turbine generator.

The Bucksport mill has been in operation since 1930, and employs nearly 800 people who operate four paper machines.

The $40 million Bucksport Renewable Energy Project (BuxREP) will allow the company to switch from using coal and tire-derived fuel in the mill’s No. 8 boiler to biomass. Verso Paper spokesman Bill Cohen described BuxREP as a complex project. “It will make the boiler more efficient, balance the mill steam load and generate new power,” he said. Excess power, enough to power 30,000 homes, will be sold to the grid as needed.

The facility will utilize mill waste as well as outside biomass for fuel. Cohen said the company is not currently disclosing the specific amount of biomass that will be required.

The funding of BuxREP includes a $2 million grant from Efficiency Maine, an independent trust that invests in cost-effective energy efficiency and alternative energy

projects to reduce energy costs and improve Maine’s business environment.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for BuxREP was held mid-November. All but one of the required permits has been attained, and Verso expects the project to be completed some time in 2012, according to Cohen.

Verso Paper, which has committed to reducing its energy intensity by 25 percent in 10 years while producing sustainable green power, has additional mills in Jay, Maine, which also uses biomass and pelletized waste paper, Quinnesec, Mich., and Sartell, Minn.