DS Smith has announced investing €90m ($98.25m) to support the sustainable transformation of energy supply at its Rouen paper mill in Normandy, France.

As part of the effort, the coal-fired boiler at the paper mill will be replaced with a biomass boiler that will help Smith in meeting at least 80% of the site’s heat demand.

The move is expected to minimise the Rouen site’s overall carbon dioxide (CO₂) emissions by up to 99,000 tonnes (t) every year, compared with financial year 2022/2023.

This new 56MW biomass boiler, which will be provided by Valmet, is planned to commence operations in the first quarter (Q1) of 2025.

Valmet’s high-tech boiler will utilise approximately 94,000t of biofuel, out of which 30% will derive from plant byproducts such as pulper waste, and 70% from waste wood sources, including furniture and demolition waste.

The boiler will be operated by Engie Solutions, with a possibility of installing a steam turbine in future to support the production of 10MW electricity along with a steam supply of up to 65 tonnes an hour.

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Smith Paper & Recycling head Niels Flierman said: “Rouen paper mill is a central part of our European operations and an important producer of recycled paper in France, playing a key role in providing the corrugated packaging need to help replace problem plastics.

“Through the transition away from coal and the installation of a new biomass from waste boiler we will deliver significant CO₂ savings to not only help our own operations, but the operations of our customers through their scope 3 emissions.”

Smith said that the project has already received approval under the Regional Biomass Scheme in 2022.

The French Agency for Ecological Transition has also provided a €15m subsidy for this project.

In September 2023, Smith announced a €13m investment for its Ghimbav production facility in Transylvania, central Romania.