Biomass will power Georgia paperboard mill

By Lisa Gibson | January 21, 2011

By the middle of 2013, a Macon, Ga., paperboard mill will have a biomass power plant that supplies 100 percent of its electricity and steam needs.

Graphic Packaging International Inc. will install the 40-megawatt plant at its mill, including a high-efficiency biomass boiler and turbine generator, according to the company. The Macon mill produces 1,600 tons of paperboard per day. The $80 million biomass project will use 400,000 tons per year of logging residuals, including tops and branches, a fraction of the estimated 3.3 million tons currently available in the Macon area.

“Graphic Packaging is committed to engaging in more sustainable manufacturing processes,” said David Scheible, president and CEO. “This biomass project will not only make use of untapped renewable resources, but it will also add value to the Macon, Ga., community as a whole.”

The plant is expected to reduce the mill’s fossil-fuel based greenhouse gas emissions by about 200,000 tons per year, according to Graphic Packaging. “The objectives of the biomass project are to further the company’s sustainability strategy, reduce energy costs and to improve the profitability of the Macon mill in advance of expected increases in electricity costs,” according to Graphic Packaging.

The company, headquartered in Marietta, Ga., is a subsidiary of Graphic Packaging Holding Co. and provides paperboard packaging solutions for a variety of products to food, beverage and other consumer goods companies. It has a leading market position in coated-recycled boxboard and specialty bag packaging.