ABB increases energy efficiency at Finnish paper maker | Automation.com

ABB increases energy efficiency at Finnish paper maker

ABB increases energy efficiency at Finnish paper maker
July 27, 2009 - Four years ago, the Myllykoski Paper mill in Finland developed an energy strategy; it has met its objectives with assistance from ABB.

In 2007, Myllykoski Paper signed an energy efficiency contract with ABB, which started with a review of the energy efficiency of the whole manufacturing process - from inspection to implementation. A paper mill, for example, can derive savings from the process method, pumping, heating systems and energy management.

Myllykoski is among the largest publication paper producers in the world. The Finland mill, located in Anjalankoski, produces more than 600,000 metric tons of high-quality uncoated and coated publication paper annually. The mill also has a debarking plant, groundwood mill, bleaching plant, water supply plant, wastewater treatment plant, maintenance, material and product storages, and a hydropower plant.

The paper fiber manufacturing process consumes a lot of energy, as do paper machinery and the pumps. Competing mills also invest in energy efficiency, which means that companies cannot afford to remain outside this development cycle. The Confederation of Finnish Industries EK and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy have agreed that industry will commit to decreasing the consumption of energy by taking voluntary measures.

Globally, energy prices have hiked rapidly, which has encouraged the mill management to invest in restraining costs and commit to the savings objectives. In 2005, an energy strategy was created for Myllykoski with the goal to save ten percent by 2009 in the consumption of heat and three percent in electricity. Today, the objectives have been met while production volumes have increased rapidly at the same time.

Working as a team
A joint energy efficiency team from ABB and Myllykoski Paper serves as the model for continuous improvement. The team members try to come up with new methods of decreasing the consumption of heat and electricity. The projects are carried out through cooperation between Myllykoski Paper and ABB.

“Together we seek savings possibilities and once we find a suitable target, ABB implements the project on the turnkey principle. It is important that the payback period of the investment would be as short as possible,” says Mauri Karppinen, Energy Manager of Myllykoski Paper Oy.

Savings
An example of a concrete savings possibility has been a task, where the temperature of the replacement air in the hoods, that is, the shield covering the drying sections of paper machines 4 and 7, was adjusted to a lower level. The payback period of this energy efficiency investment was less than a year.

Trusted partner
“ABB was an easy choice as a partner for energy efficiency because Myllykoski Paper had already outsourced the overall maintenance of the mill to ABB. A total of 140 ABB employees work in the mill. The overall view and local expertise have been combined with ABB’s global expertise,” says Jari Ala-Nikkola, ABB, manager of the paper mill's maintenance unit.

Energy efficiency specialists
ABB service, in cooperation with the customer, reviewed the entire energy efficiency process from inspection to implementation with the goal to enhance the operations. The program ties into continuous improvement of energy efficiency as part of the company's daily activities.

In the industrial sector, it is often the case that energy reports concerning a sub-section of the entire process are carried out, and the reports might only remain recommendations. If this is the case, it might be because the organization may not have a person whose tasks involve the implementation of energy efficiency and the overall management of energy matters.

The energy efficiency program amends this kind of a situation. “In energy efficiency work, a precondition for success is that the people in charge are appointed and that the customer organization really wants to change the familiar operating methods. The company’s management must commit to the development of the matter by allocating resources, ” says Erja Saarivirta, Project Manager at ABB.

According to Saarivirta, energy issues have not risen to an adequately high level in production organizations so far. This means that there is a rather high potential for improvements. Energy efficiency work is a strategic partnership, a long-term contract that aims at continuous improvement. “Together, we discuss how the matter can be promoted and we make joint decisions on the tasks to be implemented,” Saarivirta says.

Meeting stakeholders expectations
Development tasks related to the climate policy of Myllykoski Corporation, the parent company of Myllykoski Paper, received a boost in the early 21st century. At that time, customers started to ask about the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions of the production. Customers demanded that the paper supplier commits to both optimizing the use of energy and to decreasing its greenhouse gas emissions.

“The majority of researchers investigating climate change believe that the progress is accelerated by the activities of people. Saving energy is one part of setting climate-politics objectives, and energy issues are now shared by everyone. People no longer think that saving energy is a problem of management," says Erkki Peltonen, Director in charge of sustainable development at Myllykoski Corporation.

Concerns about climate change have resulted in international agreements and concrete measures. An objective of 20/20/20% has been set for emission reductions. This means that 20% of energy must be saved, and the use of renewable energy sources must be increased by 20%.

“The emission and energy objectives do not only apply to us. They also apply to our customers, paper users, printing houses and publishers. In the UK, concrete savings objectives are higher than the EU level, which means that it is understandable that UK-based customers have been the most active in asking us how we intend to take care of the matter and do our part. We received the first questions about six or seven years ago,” says Erkki Peltonen.

Finnish industry
Saving energy is a significant untapped resource in Finnish industry. “Production plants should first find out which parts of the process consume energy, how much energy is consumed, and how much energy costs. ABB's energy efficiency service is a program where cooperation is carried out with the customer to review why and how the consumption of energy varies, and how the consumption can be decreased. Energy costs may be unclear, and there is not enough know-how to be able to allocate the costs to the correct users,” says Erja Saarivirta, Project Manager at ABB.

About Myllykoski
Myllykoski is a family-owned international paper industry company, the production plants of which are based in Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the United States. The annual capacity of the company’s nine paper mills is three million metric tons. The products are wood-containing, uncoated and coated printing paper and newsprint, which is sold to publishers, printing houses and retailers all over the world. The group has approximately 3,300 employees and its annual turnover for 2008 was EUR 1,471 million ($2,090 million)
ABB is a leader in power and automation technologies that enable utility and industry customers to improve their performance while lowering environmental impact. The ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs around 120,000 people.
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