Montreal-based pulp and paper company Tembec Inc. announced this week they will be launching a $190-million cogeneration project at their Témiscamingue site in northwestern Quebec.
According to an article published by the Montreal Gazette, “the cogeneration program will replace three old boilers with one modern high-pressure unit burning liquors produced in Tembec’s existing chemicals plants [and] will reduce overall energy costs and boost profitability.”
Cogeneration is a way for pulp and paper mills to capitalize on power already being generated. Often, as will be the case with the new Tembec facility, excess heat captured from the pulping process is pumped back into the mill and, in some cases, a surplus of harnessed energy to provincial power grids.
The plans for the new Tembec facility include a deal with Hydro-Quebec to undertake this initiative in Témiscamingue.
The cogeneration facility isn’t the only step Tembec is taking to complete what the Montreal Gazette called “a massive five-year restructuring.”
The company also plans to increase its overall mill capacity, including a boost to the output of specialty pulp (also called dissolving pulp) – a product used predominately by the textile industry for the fabrication of rayon.
“It’s an international growth market and we must compete,” said Tembec CEO James Lopez.
He said Tembec plans to add 35,000 tonnes of specialty pulp capacity in the coming years, adding that engineering to their facility has already begun to accommodate this upgrade.
Lopez also told a group of analysts last week that these investments were “key medium-term” moves that illustrate the new direction of the company. He also hinted the “rebalancing” of Tembec’s various businesses – from high-value pulps to lumber and chemicals – is not over, according to the Montreal Gazette.