Italian paper mill opens power plant

An Italian paper mill recently unveiled a combined heat and power plant that provides electricity to its factory and occasionally dispatches energy back to the Italian grid.

The plant also produces steam for internal production processes and hot water for the local district-heating network of Riva del Garda.

The Cartiere del Garda paper mill and Alto Garda Servizi (AGS) opened the Alto Garda Power plant as a district-heat solution that supports European Union (EU) goals to reduce emissions.

The new district-heating network will heat more than 4,500 houses in the town of Riva del Garda. According to Cartiere del Garda, the power plant project could provide a total displacement of 40,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents annually.

‘Lowering energy costs means a sharp reduction in total production costs,’ said Paolo Mattei, president, Alta Garda Power. ‘In order to remain competitive, the paper industry must find ways to reduce high energy costs and save on energy.’

According to TERNA, the Italian National Grid operator, Italy must import more than 10 per cent of its consumed electricity in order to meet the current level of demand. At the same time, EU targets call for a 20 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions compared with 1990 levels, a 20 per cent cut in energy consumption through improved energy efficiency and a 20 per cent increase in the use of renewable energy – all by the year 2020.

The Alto Garda Power project was promoted by AGS and Cartiere del Garda, with an objective to replace the old cogeneration, thermo-electrical plant, with a new, modern, technologically innovative plant.

At the heart of the system is a GE Energy LM6000 PD Sprint gas turbine generator that generates approximately 46MW of electricity operating at a reported 41 per cent efficiency. The exhaust gases are sent into a boiler, which produces steam that is then directed to a turbine to generate electricity or directly used for either internal production processes or hot water to feed the city’s district heating network.

It is claimed the emission levels of the LM6000 are 50mg/Nm3 of nitrogen oxides (NOx) and 30mg/Nm3 of carbon monoxide (CO). As a result, according to Cartiere del Garda, the Alto Garda Power plant will see annual savings of 40,000 tonnes of equivalent petroleum and a significant reduction of CO and NOx emissions.