Cascades turns to solar power at Kingsey Falls mills

Pulp & Paper Canada
June 11, 2014
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Cascades will install a powerful, 1,490 m2 concentrated solar power (CSP) system on a 4,000 m2 lot to reduce consumption of natural gas used to produce the hot water required by the company’s complex of tissue and board mills in Kingsey Falls, Que.

A ceremonial groundbreaking for the solar power plant project to supply the Cascades units in Kingsey Falls was held on June 9. This will be the first time the CSP technology is used in the pulp and paper industry.

The solar power technology will be sourced from Rackam, a Quebec-based developer of solar thermal processes.

Financing for the $1.1 million project comes in part from a $463,500 grant from Quebec’s department of energy and natural resources through the former Programme d’aide à l’innovation en énergie (PAIE) , now part of the Technoclimat program. Gaz Métro is also contributing $76,000 to the project through its Innovation program.

“We are proud to launch such a large project in collaboration with Cascades,” said Mathieu Chagnon, president of Rackam. “This is the first solar power installation in Quebec that uses our new generation of S20 collectors. These collectors are twice as big as the ones we used in previous projects, and much more efficient. The Kingsey Falls installation will in fact help the technology progress, thanks to our research partnerships with the University of Sherbrooke.”

When complete, the installation will produce 4,440 GJ/year that will be used to raise the temperature of pressurized water from 106°C to 118°C, and will generate savings of 139,700 m3 of natural gas.

Less natural gas will also mean fewer greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with reductions of more than 265 tonnes of CO 2 equivalent per year, Cascades estimates.

“Once again, Cascades is a sustainable development pioneer,” commented Mario Plourde, president and CEO of Cascades Inc. “Our company is already two times more energy efficient than the Canadian pulp and paper industry average. The project, which was launched in collaboration with a partner from the region, will allow us to still further reduce the environmental impact of our activities, in addition to reducing our natural gas bill.”

Cascades produces, converts and markets packaging and tissue products that are composed mainly of recycled fibres.

Rackam’s technology employs parabolic trough collectors that increase the intensity of the sun’s rays by concentrating them on a central tube filled with a circulating heat transfer fluid which absorbs thermal energy. The captured heat can be transported to a thermal battery or directly to an industrial process.

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