Investment in forward-thinking technologies at the Palm paper factory in Wörth am Rhein

The Palm paper factory is investing over 100 million euros in its Wörth plant. The power plant is being updated, and a new gas turbine and new steam turbine will use modern technology to achieve higher efficiency.

On 21 September 2020, the sun shone brightly as the combustion chamber was hoisted into the residual material boiler, with Dr. Kopf (President of SGD Sued), County Commissioner Dr. Brechtel (County Commissioner for the District of Germersheim), Dr. Nitsche (Mayor of the city of Wörth), Dr. Wirth (Manager of PM 6), Works Council Chair Christian Götz, and Mr. Lapos from Rhenisch Pfalz in attendance. “The renovation of the Wörth plant was completed quickly, thanks to our very good collaboration with the public authorities, in particular with Structural and Approval Management at Neustadt an der Weinstraße, the district administration of Germersheim and the city of Wörth” stated Jürgen Kosse, plant manager for the Palm paper factory in Wörth. After an approval process in accordance with the Federal Emissions Protection Act, with public participation, the application was submitted in early April 2019, and the building permit was granted in November of that same year. This was an extremely fast turnaround time for the process. The plant then broke ground on the new residual materials boiler in February of this year, which is slated to start operating in April of 2021.

World's first use of gas turbine that can also be operated using hydrogen

To renovate the power plant, Palm received the world's first example of a new type of gas turbine developed by Siemens. However, underscoring the forward-thinking nature of the technology, in the future the gas turbine can be operated not only with natural gas, but also with up to 50% hydrogen. The power plant achieves an overall effectiveness of 90 % through cogeneration.

The new gas turbine power plant will begin operating in the 3rd quarter of 2021, and is an ideal choice for the energy revolution: The turbines stop when the power grid is overloaded, and the paper factory and the city of Wörth, as well as other municipalities, can be supplied if there is a need for more power. In this way, the plant perfectly compensates for increasing load fluctuations on the network.

In addition, recycled paper is thermally recycled in a second newly constructed residual materials boiler, another step in achieving a forward-thinking energy supply. Steam for the paper machine is generated from the washed raw materials. This further minimises the percentage of fossil fuels in the location's energy supply, saving CO2.

The paper factory in Wörth began operating in 2002, with the world's largest paper machine for manufacturing corrugated base paper, and remains one of the most powerful systems. Palm expects the packaging market to continue growing into the future. Because of this, it is also investing 500 million euros in its primary plant in Aalen. Starting in 2021, a new paper machine will replace three older systems.