In one of its boldest green initiatives yet, Neenah Paper has contracted to convert wood and fiber waste into steam energy to power its largest fine paper mill. The “Neenah Green: Change Comes from Within” environmental campaign gave impetus to the development of broader mill-based solutions such as this state-of-the-art facility. Located at the company's Whiting Mill in Alpharetta, Ga., the fossil fuel-free steam energy system will be built by Vision Power, a Florida-based independent energy services company, and is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2009.
Biomass is a green, sustainable resource consisting mainly of wood and fiber waste. Unlike fossil fuel combustion, which takes carbon that was underground and puts it in the atmosphere, the use of biomass as an energy source recycles carbon, so the net effect is that no new carbon dioxide is added to the atmosphere. The biomass energy project creates a closed loop system where the source of the steam energy is waste originally identified for landfill disposal as well as waste from the mill's own production processes and, as a result, the expectation is to emit zero net direct carbon dioxide at the Whiting Mill.
"We are the leading premium paper company in North America, and with that comes a level of accountability that we have not only chosen to meet, but to exceed. Our Whiting Mill was an obvious choice for this project because it represents over half of Neenah's fine paper production, including the company's CLASSIC CREST and CLASSIC Linen flagship brands," said John O'Donnell, president, Fine Paper. "Our commitment to the environment is based on real internal change such as investing in innovative, energy-efficient upgrades and manufacturing processes versus simply buying carbon credits. This project supports that strategy and complements existing initiatives already in place at our other manufacturing sites where we burn biomass and utilize local hydro, solar and wind power."
With the project, virtually all of the direct energy produced at the Whiting Mill will be from fossil fuel-free, renewable sources. The project will reduce Neenah Paper's carbon footprint by approximately 42,000 tons annually – the equivalent of taking 8,408 average-sized cars off the road for one full year, while also reducing energy costs at the Whiting Mill as a result of shutting down its current gas-fired boilers.
"We fully recognize our responsibility in managing the natural resources that are used in manufacturing our premium papers, and we will continue to lead the way in our industry in managing those resources in a sustainable and productive manner," said O'Donnell.
Third-party certifications also play an important role in validating Neenah Paper's Neenah Green initiatives. Many of Neenah's heritage and flagship brands are FSC Certified (SW-COC-000885), Green Seal Certified, and made carbon neutral. Neenah Paper is also a member of the Chicago Climate Exchange, a legally binding system in which participation is a testament to Neenah's willingness to be held accountable to ongoing reductions in carbon emissions that are certified by an unbiased and credible third party.
About Neenah Paper
Neenah Paper manufactures and distributes a wide range of premium and specialty paper grades, with leading positions in many of its markets and well-known brands such as CLASSIC, ENVIRONMENT, STARWHITE, NEENAH, ESSE and other fine brand names. Neenah Paper is a proud consumer of Green Energy and is a U.S. EPA Green Power Partner. Neenah also manufactures many brands carrying the Green-e, Green Seal and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications (SW-COC-000885).