DS Smith invests €90 million in a biomass boiler in Rouen and accelerates its decarbonization

On November 15, the DS Smith group carried out the ceremony of laying the first stone of an investment of €90 million in a new biomass boiler on its Papeterie de Rouen site (in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, in Normandy). During the morning, presentations and round tables were organized around the theme of energy and decarbonization. They brought together Miles Roberts, CEO of the group as well as senior managers of the company, including Thibault Laumonier, CEO of DS Smith Packaging France and Michel Etancelin, CEO of DS Smith Papier Rouen. Local political figures, representatives of Engie and Ademe (partners in this project) as well as Paul-Antoine Lacour, general delegate of Copacel, had also the opportunity to speak and share their views.

At the end of this investment, the Rouen paper mill will no longer use coal, which will allow it to reduce its CO2 emissions by 99,000 t/year (vs. fiscal year 2022/2023). This project will also account for 8% of the group’s overall reduction objectives by 2030.

Started last May, it will be operational in the first quarter of 2025. It includes the replacement of the coal boiler with a new biomass boiler. Supplied by Valmet, this boiler will have a capacity of 56 MW and will be operated by Engie Solutions (under a 20-year contract). It will provide at least 80% of the site’s heat demand. It will be powered by 94,000 t/year of biofuel, of which 30% will come from factory by-products (pulper waste) and 70% from wood waste (furniture, demolition waste, etc.). Approved by the regional biomass plan in 2022, this project is supported by local authorities, including a €15 million grant from the Environment and Energy Management Agency (Ademe). DS Smith is also investigating the future installation of a steam turbine capable of producing approximately 10 MW of electricity with a maximum steam supply of 65 t/h.

In addition to the biomass boiler, two new gas boilers (2 x 34 t/h of steam) will complete the fleet of emergency boilers already made up of an existing gas boiler (34 t/h of steam).

This project is part of a number of initiatives in Europe and North America that contribute to DS Smith’s goal of reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 46% in absolute terms by to 2030 (compared to 2019 levels) and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

Valérie Lechiffre

Acquired by DS Smith in 2019, the Rouen paper mill was the first factory in France to produce lightweight recycled corrugated medium, used in the manufacture of corrugated board. The site also produces light, medium and dual-purpose papers for consumer goods and e-commerce packaging. Its annual production capacity is 280,000 t, which represents some 7% of the total corrugated case material (CCM) produced by the group. The site also has a 2.50 m wide corrugator which produces 25 million m2/year. In France, DS Smith group has 35 production sites and employs 4,500 people across three divisions (Recycling, Paper and Packaging).