Verso Paper completes Mich. biomass CHP project

By Anna Austin | January 13, 2012

Verso Paper Corp. has finished a $45 million energy system upgrade at its Quinnesec, Mich., pulp and paper mill.

Located in the southeast corner of Dickinson County in northern Michigan, the 28 MW biomass cogeneration system is providing 95 percent of the mill’s required electricity.

Work on the project began in Oct. 2010, and included design upgrades to the mill’s existing combination boiler, a new turbine generator and a biomass handling system, which enable the mill to expand its capabilities to process residual wood such as tree tops, limbs and bark. The mill’s boiler will continue to burn black liquor, according to Verso.

The company estimates that the upgrades will reduce the mill’s annual energy costs by $7 million, and create a revenue stream through the sale of renewable energy credits.

In addition to the Quinnesec project, Verso has another biomass energy system upgrade in the works. In Dec. 2010, the company broke ground on a $40 million combined-heat-and-power (CHP) project to modify a boiler at its Bucksport, Maine, Mill that will reduce the equipment’s fossil fuel use by 80 percent, replacing coal and tire-derived fuel with wood waste. Verso expects the project to be complete early this year.