In line with the goals of the Paris Agreement, paper manufacturers worldwide are facing the urgent challenge of producing more sustainably. As a globally active technology company, it is Voith Paper’s responsibility to take a leading role in achieving these goals and to provide customers with the best possible support on their way to more sustainable and efficient paper production. The company is therefore launching the “Papermaking for Life” innovation and development offensive.
Andreas Endters, President & CEO at Voith Paper, confirms: “With innovative strength, comprehensive know-how and optimized technologies, we are significantly advancing sustainability in paper production. Our aim is to set current and future standards in the industry. Together with our customers, we can achieve the best possible results for sustainable and efficient paper production. That is why we have launched the ‘Papermaking for Life’ program.”
The full-line supplier’s sustainability program sets ambitious targets for 2030: 100% CO2-neutral paper production, significantly improving customers’ carbon footprint with the help of energy-optimized products, digital solutions and efficient use of renewable energies. Voith Paper is also researching disruptive technologies for a completely new papermaking process that reduces fresh water consumption in production by 90%. In addition, by tapping into new recycled fiber streams, the recycling rate in paper production can be increased to 90%.
“With our solutions, we are laying the foundation for paper production of the future,” says Dr. Michael Weiß, CTO at Voith Paper. “All our research and development work has a strong focus on sustainability. That is why we will invest around 100 million euros per year in new innovations. As a driving force in the industry, we are also active along the entire value chain, for example, in the initiative ‘model factory paper.’”
Optimization for minimal usage of energy, water and fiber
Energy savings of up to 30% are possible by 2030 through the optimization of existing products and digital solutions. Disruptive production technologies could lead to further energy savings of up to 50%. Combined with renewable energies, CO2 emissions in paper production can be reduced by 100%.
Water is another precious resource in paper production. Closed water cycles are becoming increasingly important, especially in regions where water is scarce. With the AquaLine concept, Voith and its subsidiary Meri have developed the most efficient closed water cycle, requiring 0 liters of effluent and only 1.5 liters of fresh water per 1 kg of paper. By 2030, the amount of fresh water required is to be reduced by 90% using disruptive production technologies.
Voith Paper also sets standards in fiber consumption. For example, customers can save 10% to 15% of fibers with the BlueLine stock preparation system. In addition, Voith Paper is committed to strengthening the contribution of fiber-based packaging in a circular economy, among other activities, as a member of the 4evergreen Alliance. The goal of the partnership is to increase the paper recycling rate to over 90% by 2030 with the help of new recycling streams.
With a wide range of solutions, the Papermaking 4.0 digitalization and automation portfolio significantly increases production efficiency and plant availability. The digital applications often pay for themselves in less than a year and are implemented quickly. It is expected that 15% of production costs can be saved in the future with the help of digitalization.
All activities at Voith locations worldwide are CO2-neutral
Voith Paper is also taking responsibility for its own activities and has been climate-neutral since the beginning of 2022 – as has the entire Voith Group. The company will continue to intensify these measures in the future. For example, Voith will expand its photovoltaic systems, increase energy efficiency and increase the share of renewable energies. In addition, Voith Paper has already achieved high sustainability targets in recent years, reducing waste by 33%, water consumption by 56% and energy demand by 38% in relation to sales from 2012 to fiscal 2020/21.
The independent ISS ESG rating of B- also demonstrates how sustainably Voith Paper and the Voith Group are already acting. This puts the Voith Group among the top three companies worldwide in the area of sustainability in mechanical and plant engineering.
As part of its sustainability program “Papermaking for Life”, Voith Paper presents versatile technologies and initiatives that lead to more efficient and sustainable processes in papermaking. The focus is on water, energy and fiber savings as well as digitalization, innovations and partnerships as levers for more sustainable production.