Neenah Paper uses 'Green Steam' for energy

Neenah Paper continues to lead the way in environmental responsibility by entering into an agreement to purchase 350 million pounds of "Green Steam" per year -- generated from wastewater sludge -- to provide energy for its Neenah, Wis., paper mill. Allows it to reduce natural gas consumption by 80%...

ALPHARETTA, GA, Jan. 24, 2006 -- Neenah Paper continues to lead the way in environmental responsibility by entering into an agreement to purchase 350 million pounds of "Green Steam" per year to provide energy for its Neenah, Wis., paper mill. Neenah projects that by using this steam, it will reduce its natural gas consumption by 80% annually. The steam, a byproduct of a wastewater recycling process, is primarily used to dry paper during manufacturing and is also used to heat the mill.

By reducing natural gas consumption, Neenah will also decrease its carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere by 80%. That is equivalent to 150,000 metric tons. Decreasing carbon dioxide by this amount is equivalent to planting 250,000 tree seedlings, which naturally remove carbon dioxide from the air.

"Neenah Paper is extremely proud to be purchasing a renewable source of energy that greatly reduces the need for us to use fossil fuels such as natural gas and oil," said Gerry Rector, Senior Brand Manager for Neenah Paper. "We are dedicated to responsible stewardship of our natural resources. This is a major milestone for the company and for the industry, and we are excited to again spearhead yet another environmental initiative."

The steam was declared "green" by the State of Wisconsin because it's generated from a biomass source: wastewater sludge from paper mills. An innovative and ground-breaking method that recovers the mineral content of the sludge and transforms it into beneficial uses was developed by Minergy Corporation, a processing facility based in Neenah, Wis. The beneficial uses include steam, electricity and glass aggregate. Minergy is the world's first facility to convert sludge into glass aggregate, and has patented that technology.

Every year, Neenah recycles 10,000 tons of sludge through Minergy. This includes sludge from the manufacturing of Neenah's recycled ENVIRONMENT¿¥ Papers brand and its CLASSIC® Papers brands, which have several colors containing 60% recycled fiber (30% post-consumer material). Several other companies also send their wastewater sludge for recycling. Neenah's recycling efforts help, in part, to preserve 10 acres of green space annually. The process has saved more than 57 acres of local landfill space to date.

"The steam is used to pre-dry the sludge," says Terry Carroll, Minergy's General Manager. "Minergy then melts the wastewater solids in a glass furnace, releasing the energy from the organic compounds. This leaves behind inorganic mineral components that flow from the furnace as liquid glass, which can ultimately be used in various commercial applications. The heat generated in the melting process is recovered in a generator, which co-produces more steam. It is also used to power a turbine generator, which in turn generates electricity. It is truly a full circle process."

ENVIRONMENT® Papers are an ecologically responsible brand that features a 100% recycled option certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Also available are ENVIRONMENT Alternative Fiber and ENVIRONMENT FSC-Certified with a minimum of 17.5% virgin fiber. All of the papers in this brand are Green Seal certified and meet the Federal Procurement Guidelines.

Neenah Paper (, of Neenah, WI, manufactures and distributes a wide range of premium and specialty paper grades, with leading positions in many of its markets and well-known brands such as CLASSIC®, ENVIRONMENT, UV/ULTRA® II, NEENAH®, EAMES™ and other fine brand names. Neenah Paper is a proud consumer of Green Energy, and is one of the first paper mills to utilize "steam" energy that was converted using paper mill byproducts. Neenah also manufactures many brands carrying the Green Seal and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certifications.


Also see: "TAPPI presents the 2006 International Conference on Nanotechnology for the Forest Products Industry, April 26-28 in Atlanta"


More in Environmental