dom logoDomtar Corporation has announced the closing of the previously announced sale of its Ariva business in the United States. The purchaser is privately-held Central National-Gottesman Inc., and the business will be integrated into Lindenmeyr Munroe, a division of Central National-Gottesman.

Ariva's Canadian operations are not affected by the transaction and will be consolidated into Domtar's Pulp and Paper Division.

Read the previously announced sale of its Ariva business in the United States here....>

SOURCE Domtar Corporation

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    About Domtar 
    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and absorbent hygiene products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name as well as baby diapers. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,500 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

  • Contacts

    Pascal Bossé
    Vice-President
    Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
    Tel.: 514-848-5938

Published in Canadian News

dom logoDomtar Corporation has announced that it has entered into an agreement to sell its Ariva business in the United States to privately-held Central National-Gottesman Inc. The business will be integrated into Lindenmeyr Munroe ("Lindenmeyr"), a division of Central National-Gottesman, and the transaction is expected to close at the end of July 2013, subject to customary closing conditions.

"Our employees' efforts to adjust to a rapidly changing printing industry are commendable and I am appreciative of their dedication over the years," said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Domtar. "Today's decision to rationalize and sell the business represents the best alternative for our shareholders and the agreement with Lindenmeyr, a well-established and long-time valued business partner of Domtar, will assure business continuity for customers. Lindenmeyr has committed to quickly assess its business requirements and this will provide employment opportunities for Ariva's employees."

In a subsequent transaction that Domtar is not party to, immediately following the closing of the sale, the purchaser, Central National-Gottesman Inc., has agreed to sell the US Midwest portion of the Ariva business to The Millcraft Paper Company, a family-run paper merchant based in Cleveland, Ohio.

Ariva has approximately 400 employees in the United States. Headquartered in Covington, Kentucky, Ariva operates from 15 locations in the United States across eight states in the Northeast and Midwest regions. Domtar will take proper measures to assist the employees affected by the transaction in accordance with its policies.

Ariva's Canadian operations are not affected by the transaction. The Canadian operations will be consolidated into Domtar's Pulp and Paper Division as they had been historically, upon closing of the transaction.

SOURCE Domtar Corporation

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  • About

    About Domtar
    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and absorbent hygiene products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name as well as baby diapers. Domtar owns and operates Ariva®, a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,800 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

    About Central National-Gottesman Inc.
    Founded in 1886 and headquartered in Purchase, New York, Central National-Gottesman Inc. is a leading international marketer of pulp and paper. The company has sales offices in 28 U.S. cities and 23 countries worldwide. CNG operates several divisions, including its U.S. Distribution Division, the largest independent paper merchant in the U.S., comprised of Lindenmeyr, Spicers Paper, Inc. and Kelly Paper Company; and Central National, a global provider of pulp, paper, and packaging. The company's sales of pulp and paper exceed $4 billion annually. To learn more, please visit www.cng-inc.com.

  • Contacts

    FOR MORE INFORMATION 

    Stuart Lister
    Manager
    Corporate Communications and Public Affairs
    Tel: 514-848-5555 ext. 85515

Published in Canadian News

dom logoA northwestern Pennsylvania paper mill is still in business even as state police investigate the cause of a fire in a conveyor tunnel used to deliver wood chips to the plant.

The fire was reported Friday about 12:30 p.m. at the Domtar Paper Co. site in Johnsonburg, about 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Nearly 200 firefighters from 25 departments in six counties helped battle the blaze until about 11 a.m. Saturday. Nobody was injured.

Domtar spokesman Craig Timm says the plant is using a manual backup system to deliver chips, while a fire marshal investigates the cause of the fire in a 1,000-foot tunnel beneath the 125-year-old plant.

Police say extensive damage to the tunnel might delay that investigation several days.

Timm says he can't comment on the investigation or on any damage estimate.

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    About Domtar

    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name as well as baby diapers. Domtar owns and operates Ariva®, a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,900 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

  • Contacts

    MEDIA AND INVESTOR RELATIONS
    Pascal Bossé
    Vice-President
    Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
    Tel.: 514-848-5938

Published in North American News
Monday, 15 July 2013 11:30

Domtar Provides Business Update

dom logoDomtar Corporation has provided an update on its financial performance for the second quarter of 2013. Domtar's management expects sales to be $1,312 million and estimates the operating loss to be between $30 and $35 million.

EBITDA before items1 will be between $130 and $135 million primarily due to a combination of costs related to maintenance shutdowns, lower pulp productivity, lower paper and pulp shipments and higher costs for freight. During the second quarter of 2013, paper and pulp shipments stood at 801,000 tons and 344,000 metric tons, respectively.

Estimated operating loss in the second quarter of 2013 includes a litigation settlement charge of $49 million, closure and restructuring costs of $18 million, a charge of $5 million related to the impairment and write-down of property, plant and equipment, and depreciation and amortization of $93 million. Adjusting estimated operating loss for these four amounts yields EBITDA before items1.

"We had sub optimal pulp productivity and unusually high costs due to significant planned maintenance and delayed restarts in our pulp mills." said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer.  "However, a closer look at our operations demonstrates that by quarter end we made very good progress on addressing production issues in the Pulp and Paper business. We remain confident that we will return to more normalized productivity levels across the business by the end of the third quarter."

Domtar will release its second quarter of 2013 financial results before markets open on Thursday, July 25, 2013. A conference call will be held to discuss the results at 10:00 a.m. (ET) the same day. Financial analysts are invited to participate in the call by dialing 1-866-321-8231 (North America) or 1-416-642-5213 (International). Media and other interested individuals are invited to listen to the live webcast at www.domtar.com. A replay will be available by dialing 1-888-203-1112 (North America) or 1-647-436-0148 (International) using access code 5591030 until August 8, 2013.

(All financial information is in U.S. dollars, unless otherwise noted.)

SOURCE Domtar Corporation

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  • About

    About Domtar

    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name as well as baby diapers. Domtar owns and operates Ariva®, a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,900 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

  • Contacts

    MEDIA AND INVESTOR RELATIONS
    Pascal Bossé
    Vice-President
    Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
    Tel.: 514-848-5938

Published in financial News

Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) and Federal and State Officials invite the media to attend a press event to mark the inauguration of a commercial-scale lignin separation plant - the first U.S. facility of its type in more than 25 years.

Who: The Honorable Tom Vilsack, Secretary, United States Department of Agriculture
  The Honorable G.K. Butterfield, United States House of Representatives
  John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer, Domtar Corporation
  Michael Edwards, Senior Vice-President, Pulp and Paper Manufacturing, Domtar Corporation
  Dennis Askew, Vice-President and Mill Manager, Domtar Corporation
   
What: Tour of the lignin separation plant, presentations on the commercial applications of lignin from Federal officials and Domtar leaders, and panel discussion with industry experts and customers
   
When:  Friday, June 7, 2013, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. ET
   
Where:
Domtar Plymouth Mill
Highway 149
Plymouth, NC 27962
From the security checkpoint, all visitors will be directed to the training center
   
Why: The production of Domtar's BioChoice™ lignin marks a big win for sustainability, providing a bio-based alternative to the use of petroleum and other fossil fuels across a wide range of applications. This includes adhesives, agricultural chemicals, carbon products, coatings, dispersants, fuels and fuel additives, natural binders, resins and thermoplastics.
  Lignin is a fundamental building block of wood fiber historically underutilized in the pulp manufacturing process. With rising energy prices, the economics of petroleum-based substrates in the making of consumer goods are shifting. This provides tremendous business opportunities for plant-based materials.
  The press event will help explain the technology and its market applications, as well as the potential to secure jobs in rural communities by leveraging an abundant, underused renewable material.
   

Interested media are required to contact Stefan Nowicki, Manager, Communications and Government Relations, Domtar Corporation, at 803-802-8099 x68099, to confirm attendance no later than June 4 at 5:00 p.m. ET. Please bring official press passes and picture I.D to facilitate access to the site.

SOURCE Domtar Corporation

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  • About

    About Domtar
    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name. Domtar owns and operates Ariva®, a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,300 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

  • Contacts

    INVESTOR RELATIONS

    Pascal Bossé
    Vice-President
    Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
    Tel.: 514-848-5938


    FOR MORE INFORMATION 

    Stefan Nowicki
    Manager
    Communications and Government Relations
    Tel.: 803-802-8099 x68099

Published in Exhibitions

domtar rollA paper company has announced plans to invest $20 million in its facility in Hancock County and retain 452 jobs. Domtar Paper Company LLC says it will upgrade and add equipment to its Hawesville operation.

Domtar operates 13 mills throughout the world, including its pulp and paper facility in northwestern Kentucky. The Hancock County plant makes an estimated 80,000 tons of market hardwood pulp—used for paper production—and about 600,000 tons of printing grade paper each year.

One of the changes at the plant will be a new conveyor system, which Domtar says will lower operating costs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the facility.

Published in North American News

Benefits of higher paper volumes and pulp prices compared to fourth quarter offset by higher production costs
(All financial information is in U.S. dollars, and all earnings per share results are diluted, unless otherwise noted.)

First quarter 2013 net earnings of $1.29 per share, earnings before items1 of $0.95 per share

Inaugurated a commercial-scale lignin removal plant at the Plymouth, NC mill

Personal Care volumes up 7% when compared to pro forma first quarter 2012

Share buyback totaled $47 million in the first quarter of 2013

TICKER SYMBOL
(NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS)

Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) today reported net earnings of $45 million ($1.29 per share) for the first quarter of 2013 compared to net earnings of $19 million ($0.54 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2012 and net earnings of $28 million ($0.76 per share) for the first quarter of 2012. Sales for the first quarter of 2013 amounted to $1,345 million.

Excluding items listed below, the Company had earnings before items1 of $33 million ($0.95 per share) for the first quarter of 2013 compared to earnings before items1 of $46 million ($1.31 per share) for the fourth quarter of 2012 and earnings before items1 of $61 million ($1.65 per share) for the first quarter of 2012.

First quarter 2013 items:

Conversion of $26 million ($18 million after tax) of alternative fuel tax credits into cellulosic biofuel producer income tax credits of $55 million ($33 million after tax) resulting in a net gain after tax of $15 million;

Charge of $10 million ($7 million after tax) related to the impairment and write-down of property, plant and equipment;

Gain on the sale of property, plant and equipment of $10 million ($6 million after tax); and

Premium paid and costs related to the debt repurchase of $3 million ($2 million after tax), included in interest expense.

Fourth quarter 2012 items:

Closure and restructuring costs of $27 million ($18 million after tax);

Charge of $12 million ($8 million after tax) related to the impairment and write-down of property, plant and equipment and intangible assets; and

Net losses on the sale of property, plant and equipment of $2 million ($1 million after tax).

First quarter 2012 items:

Premium paid and costs related to the debt repurchase of $50 million ($30 million after tax), included in interest expense;

Closure and restructuring costs, including write-down of property, plant and equipment, of $3 million ($2 million after tax); and

Negative impact of purchase accounting of $1 million ($1 million after tax).

"The first quarter results in our paper business were disappointing and this is due to low productivity, resulting in high costs," said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer. "While we benefited from better paper pricing than we expected, the reconfiguration of our Marlboro, South Carolina operations resulted in multiple paper grade transfers, upsetting productivity at several of our paper mills. We anticipate a return to a more normalized productivity in the quarters to come." John D. Williams added, "Our personal care business remains on track and the capital investments should start to deliver the expected benefits towards the end of 2013."

QUARTERLY REVIEW

Operating income before items1 was $75 million in the first quarter of 2013 compared to an operating income before items1 of $84 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Depreciation and amortization totaled $95 million in the first quarter of 2013.

(In millions of dollars)

 

1Q 2013

 

4Q 2012

Sales

 

$1,345

 

$1,327

Operating income (loss)

       

 

Pulp and Paper segment

 

39

 

40

 

Distribution segment

 

(1)

 

(8)

 

Personal Care segment

 

13

 

13

 

Corporate

 

(2)

 

(2)

 

Total

 

49

 

43

Operating income before items1

 

75

 

84

Depreciation and amortization

 

95

 

96

The decrease in operating income before items1 in the first quarter of 2013 was the result of higher usage for energy and chemicals, higher unit costs for fiber, lower average selling prices for paper, higher general production costs and higher selling, general and administrative and other expenses. These factors were partially offset by higher volumes for paper, lower costs for planned maintenance, higher average selling prices for pulp and a favorable exchange rate.

When compared to the fourth quarter of 2012, paper shipments increased 2.9% and pulp shipments decreased 3.4%. Paper deliveries of Ariva® increased 9.8% when compared to the fourth quarter of 2012. The shipments-to-production ratio for paper was 104% in the first quarter of 2013, compared to 97% in the fourth quarter of 2012. Lack-of-order downtime and machine slowdowns in papers totaled 8,000 short tons in the first quarter of 2013. Paper inventories decreased by 34,000 tons while pulp inventories increased by 16,000 metric tons at the end of March, compared to December levels.

LIQUIDITY AND CAPITAL

Cash flow provided from operating activities amounted to $63 million and capital expenditures amounted to $56 million, resulting in free cash flow1 of $7 million for the first quarter of 2013. Domtar's net debt-to-total capitalization ratio1 stood at 18% at March 31, 2013 compared to 16% at December 31, 2012.

Domtar returned a total of $63 million to its shareholders through a combination of dividend and share buybacks in the first quarter of 2013. Under its stock repurchase program, Domtar repurchased a total of 9,266,503 shares of common stock at an average price of $79.87 since the implementation of the program in May 2010. At the end of the first quarter of 2013, Domtar had $258 million remaining under this program.

OUTLOOK

We expect continued momentum in pulp markets with moderate improvement in pricing and steady shipments. In papers, our volumes are expected to stay relatively similar to the first quarter in the near term. The second quarter will be affected by the usual seasonal higher maintenance activity in pulp, while input costs are expected to decline slightly, notably due to lower usage of energy.

EARNINGS CONFERENCE CALL

The Company will hold a conference call today at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss its first quarter 2013 financial results. Financial analysts are invited to participate in the call by dialing at least 10 minutes before start time 1 (866) 321-8231 (toll free - North America) or 1 (416) 642-5213 (International), while media and other interested individuals are invited to listen to the live webcast on the Domtar Corporation website at www.domtar.com.

The Company will hold its 2013 Annual Meeting of Stockholders on Wednesday, May 1st, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. (ET) at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, Claire and Marc Bourgie Pavilion, 1339 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec. The Company will release its second quarter 2013 earnings on July 25, 2013 before markets open, followed by a conference call at 10:00 a.m. (ET) to discuss results. The date is tentative and will be confirmed approximately three weeks prior to the official earnings release date.

For the full release with tables please follow this link.....

Additional Info

  • About

    About Domtar
    Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar®, Lynx® Opaque Ultra, Husky® Opaque Offset, First Choice® and Domtar EarthChoice®. Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends® brand name. Domtar owns and operates Ariva®, a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,300 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

  • Contacts

    MEDIA AND INVESTOR RELATIONS
    Pascal Bossé
    Vice-President
    Corporate Communications and Investor Relations
    Tel.: 514-848-5938

Published in financial News

Domtar is proud to be the Montreal Chamber Orchestra's Season Partner for the 2012-2013 Discovery Concert Series. We invite classical music lovers of all ages to join us.

Also on the program: Symphony no. 1 in C Majour, op 21 by L. van Beethoven, Couleurs by Louis Babin, Petite Suite by Claude Debussy and Symphony no.1 in E-flat Major, KV 16 by W. A. Mozart.

For further information or to schedule interviews with the concert conductor and/or soloist, interested individuals and media can contact Mona Awad, MCO Executive Director, at 514-871-1224 or at info@mco-ocm.qc.ca

  About the soloist Georde Gao is considered as one of the most exciting, innovative and respected erhu masters today. His performance on April 16 marks his first appearance with the Montreal Chamber Orchestra.

About the conductor Born in Montreal, Wanda Kaluzny started her musical studies with lessons in piano and organ. She began her conducting career at the age of 11 when she assumed the position of organist and choir director at the Holy Cross Parish in Montreal, a position she held for eight years. A year later at the age of twenty, she founded the Montreal Chamber Orchestra making her at the time, the youngest and only woman conductor of a professional Orchestra. Kaluzny's conducting studies include working with Stefan Stuligrosz in Poland and with Charles Bruck at the Pierre Monteux Memorial Foundation in the United States. She toured in Europe as Maestro Bruck's assistant and also guest conducted in North America and Europe. In April 1990, she was the first woman to guest conduct the Baden-Baden Symphony in Germany.

About the Montreal Chamber Orchestra The Montreal Chamber Orchestra was founded in 1974 by its Artistic Director and Conductor, Wanda Kaluzny. Under her leadership the MCO has earned a reputation for excellence and has achieved international recognition: Korean tour including a television broadcast (1990-91); tour of Southeastern U.S.A. (Nov 1990); tour in California invited by Columbia Artist Management (Mar 1992). The MCO was also honored to be the first Canadian Orchestra featured in two PBS programs produced by Vermont Public Television, which included the memorial concert entitled "Requiem for September 11". The Montreal Chamber Orchestra can be heard on the compact discs Suites for Strings and Cinématique.

Additional Info

  • About

    About Domtar Domtar Corporation (NYSE: UFS) (TSX: UFS) designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication papers, specialty and packaging papers and adult incontinence products. The foundation of its business is a network of world class wood fiber converting assets that produce papergrade, fluff and specialty pulps. The majority of its pulp production is consumed internally to manufacture paper and consumer products. Domtar is the largest integrated marketer of uncoated freesheet paper in North America with recognized brands such as Cougar(®), Lynx(® )Opaque Ultra, Husky(®) Opaque Offset, First Choice(®) and Domtar EarthChoice(®). Domtar is also a leading marketer and producer of a complete line of incontinence care products marketed primarily under the Attends(®) brand name. Domtar owns and operates Ariva(®), a network of strategically located paper and printing supplies distribution facilities. In 2012, Domtar had sales of US$5.5 billion from some 50 countries. The Company employs approximately 9,300 people. To learn more, visit www.domtar.com.

Published in Canadian News

More than 400 people have helped build the $250 million biomass power plant that now towers over Business Highway 51 and the Wisconsin River, and their months of hard work have the project on schedule to begin generating power late this year.

domtar biomass

When the facility opens, a parade of 50 to 75 semitrucks every weekday will keep the plant’s boilers stoked with treetops and branches that will create steam and electricity. In addition to producing clean energy, the new site will improve air quality by reducing overall emissions from the Domtar paper mill by about 30 percent, according to a Domtar and We Energies informational handout.

That parade of trucks loaded down with 300,000 to 500,000 tons of wood debris referred to as biomass will come from forests within a 75-mile radius and will employ dozens more people, including Jeff Plunkett, fiber procurement manager for Domtar.

Plunkett is in charge of buying wood materials for the paper mill and new biomass facility. He said he has a growing list of local contractors lined up to provide the wood waste, though he declined to name any.

“This gives an opportunity for the forest products industry for an additional outlet for their material,” Plunkett said. “It will open up potential new markets for people who want to get into the wood waste business  and market it instead of burning or putting it in a landfill.”

In November 2008, the company began talks with We Energies to develop an alternative energy source, and the partnership was announced in September 2009 for a new biomass plant to be built at the Domtar Rothschild site. Since its introduction, the project has divided village residents and faced opposition because of its hefty price tag. Construction began in August 2011.

Rick Graap, owner of Graap Logging in Merrill, has supported the biomass facility since it was first proposed. He hopes to have a contract later this year as one of the biomass material providers for the new facility, and already has about 25,000 tons of tree tops and branches stored in north central Wisconsin.

Graap said he plans to hire about two to three new employees to drive trucks, should he contract with Domtar and We Engergies. He will also hire two other employees to operate in the woods.

“I’m excited not only for myself but also for the raw forest products industry in the state,” he said. “When you diversify markets, it strengthens the industry in any business. Not to mention all of the other related tire and parts companies that will benefit from this amazing addition to central Wisconsin.”

Once the facility is in full operation, the plant will employ about 30 full-time workers. About 60 percent of the steam will drive a turbine to create electricity for We Energies, a Milwaukee-based energy company. The remaining steam will be used inside Domtar’s Rothschild mill, which employs 400 people.

While Domtar will continue to buy electricity from Wisconsin Public Service Corp., the new 50-megawatt biomass facility will supply 100 percent of the mill’s steam, used to create the high-pressure, high-temperature environment necessary to convert wood chips to pulp and to dry paper after it is made, said Craig Timm, a Domtar spokesman.

Before the plant opens late this year, many parts need to be prepped and tested, including the biomass boiler, the fuel-handling system and steam blows. Testing the biomass boiler ensures boiler pipes are welded properly and can withstand required pressure. The steam blows push steam through pipes to clear dirt and debris that accumulate during construction, and the fuel-handling system includes conveyor systems and the truck unloader.

Published in Energy News
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 17:30

Where Power Meets Paper

Nestled along the Wisconsin River within the town of Rothschild, Wis., sits Domtar’s paper mill. Built over 100 years ago it serves as one of the region’s largest employers. Considered an area landmark, its presence now is perhaps more marked than ever, with the gradual but seemingly overnight construction of a 50-MW biomass cogeneration plant.

Reaching a skyscraping 265 feet at its highest point, the facility is a new addition to the landscape that residents across the river have been able to watch grow over the past couple of years, a result of years of partnership, permitting and meticulous planning. The bustling construction site—active even through the harsh winter months—is described by Craig Timm, manager of Domtar’s public affairs, as “its own little city.” Having reached peak construction last fall, with around 500 workers on site any given time, the plant is now in the final stretch of construction.

Reflecting on the four-year development process, Domtar and We Energies are enthused—and proud—to share their experiences in working together toward a common goal, but at the same time having completely different backgrounds and objectives.

Project Pieces

dom pic1Terry Carroll, asset manager for We Energies, says that the idea for the project emerged when the utility was exploring ways to meet the state renewable portfolio standard, which requires 10 percent of electric sales from renewables by 2015. “We had one major wind project at the time and were looking at others, but realized that we needed some diversity, so we started looking at biomass,” Carroll says. “Where would it make the most sense, and who would make a good partner? In terms of procuring biomass, papermaking or lumber product companies are already doing that.” 

After We Energies contacted the Pulp and Paper Products Council to gauge potential for a partnership and explain what the company was hoping to do, Domtar responded to the request. From that point on, the two businesses became dedicated partners and began the project, groundbreaking of which occurred in June 2011.

As Domtar already possessed expertise in feedstock procurement, one of the typical key project puzzle pieces was already in place. “We already do business [in sourcing wood fuel], had a small biomass boiler, and a pulping operation that utilizes logs,” says Jim Freiberg, Domtar project manager. “It made sense for us to partner as the fuel procurement agent, and in terms of our financial interests, this would give us the opportunity to manufacture our product at lower costs, utilizing steam from the plant.”

At the time, Domtar was utilizing three aging pieces of steam generating equipment that were destined for replacement in the near future, according to Freiberg, so the opportunity arose in perfect timing for the papermaker.

The power facility will use around 500,000 tons per year of woody biomass material, according to Carroll, which will come ready-to-burn from Domtar’s fuel yard, or will be shredded or chipped off site by suppliers. All fuel will arrive in trucks—about 75 loads per day—and be delivered to one of three receiving stations, where trucks will back into a covered truck tipper and be tilted to release fuel onto the conveyor system. Air in the unloading station is drawn under a vacuum to filter, minimize and suppress airborne dust, and then vented through a 110-foot chimney attached to the truck-unloading baghouse filter.  “We have a number of neighbors close by, residences across the street, so all of our biomass handling system is enclosed to keep noise and dust at a minimum,” says Carroll.

Enclosed conveyors transport the fuel to the storage building, also completely enclosed, where about five to seven days’ worth of fuel is stored, according to Carroll. There, an automatic loading system will scalp fuel off the pile, pull it up to another conveyor, and send it into the boiler building. “There we have a modest amount of storage, an hour or less, before it’s fired into the boiler,” he says.

The Metso circulating fluidized bed (CFB) boiler is housed in a 190-foot boiler building, replacing three old boilers—one biomass-fired, and two old gas boilers, and is accompanied by a natural gas auxiliary boiler. “Since the [biomass] boiler undergoes periodic outages a couple of times per year, Domtar needs a backup supply of steam,” Carroll explains. The CFB boiler, coupled with a state-of-the-art emissions control system, will reduce Domtar’s previous emissions by roughly 30 percent. Designed with the U.S. EPA’s Boiler MACT rules in mind, the project’s timing was ideal for planned compliance.

The two-section cooling tower was deployed to eliminate discharge of heated water into the Wisconsin River, and the one selected for the project possesses a plume abatement technology that minimizes water vapor, which is often mistaken for air pollution. At above freezing temperatures, the plume normally will not be visible—if it is, only as a fine mist and will usually dissipate within 30 feet of the top of the tower.

Right now, all major components of the project are in place, so it’s just a matter of connecting and testing them. According to Boldt Construction Project Manager Myron Wagner, getting some of the massive equipment pieces in place required a lot more planning than one might suspect.

Construction Perspective

For jobs requiring movement of extremely heavy equipment, which Wagner says are referred to as “large or major picks,” Boldt uses precision lifting, a complex engineering method used to map out a lift from beginning to end. “The major picks are all engineered, meaning we bring an engineer out with special software, enter in heights and angles and everything is predetermined, right down to the size of chokers and shackles we have to have,” Wagner explains. “One of these picks could be as many as 50 pages of engineering.”

There isn’t room for error with these kinds of lifts, Wagner adds, as some of this equipment is 50 or 100 tons. “You have to get it right the first time; you don’t get a second chance. And on this particular job, we had a couple of interesting picks. For instance, for the steam drum, we had to use two 350-ton cranes at one time.”

Wagner says this specific project has been unique in that it’s essentially been many smaller projects put together. “At any time, we’re working in probably seven or eight different major areas.  At the same time, that’s been a little challenging, because we’ve been building a powerhouse on a paper mill site, which are [paper mill sites] generally very tight areas, and this one is no exception.”

Domtar has to ship its product out, typically having 50 to 80 trucks coming in and out each day, and that has to happen without disturbances. “That’s been tough for us,” Wagner admits. “When we start working in a new area, we have to find a new spot for them to park 50 or 80 trailers. So far though, we’ve managed to do that, and we’re proud we haven’t disrupted their business.”

On where the project is currently, hydro testing of the boiler was recently completed, one of the project milestones. “We put water in it and pressurized it to 1.5 times its operating pressure, which in this case was 2,800 psi, and we held that for a length of time to prove there were no leaks, and that was successful,” says Wagner. “The next milestone will be to complete the gas pass—the flu gas that moves through the stacks goes through a number of gyrations to get there—so we can fire this thing up, put fuel through it. Hopefully that’ll happen in early June.”

 Initially the plant will be fueled on gas until any kinks are worked out, then biomass will be added. Wagner estimates the entire testing period could last up to two and a half months.

On what the big priority has been as general contractor of the project, Wagner says safety has been No. 1, followed closely by schedule and budget. “We always want everyone here to go home the same way they came,” he adds.

And being a good neighbor has also been important, an aspect that Freiberg and Carroll also highlight.

Good Neighbor

About 90 percent of the labor on site has been hired locally by Boldt, which is based in Appleton, Wis., either within the county or the state. “That’s always a goal of ours, but this local community has been exceptional,” Wagner says. “We have been very fortunate having our craft laborers being very knowledgeable about what they’re doing. “

He adds that We Energies spared no expense to cut down on sound or dust, making sure neither reaches nearby residents or businesses, and that Boldt also tries to source as many building materials locally as possible.

And, of course, on top of job creation, in a town of just under 5,300 people, a big construction project means money in the pockets of local goods and services business owners.

In turn, the good neighbor attitude has been returned by the community. “Members [of the community] have been great,” Timm adds. They, and elected officials on all levels, labor unions, chambers of commerce…they’ve been right along with us during this whole process.”

source: biomassmagazine.com

Additional Info

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    Author: Anna Simet
    Managing Editor, Biomass Magazine

Published in North American News
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