Voith and Koehler Paper have built a successful business relationship over many years. As family-owned companies, both companies pursue long-term objectives and innovative drive. As a result, many projects have been successfully implemented, such as the pioneering production line 8 in Kehl.
Now, next steps in the development partnership are planned with a focus on decarbonization. A key initiative will be to further optimize the energy efficiency of the Koehler plants. Under this partnership, the Voith-Koehler team will validate alternative energy sources that can serve as future heat sources. Among other things, the focus is on replacing fossil fuels with sustainable CO2-neutral alternatives and retrofitting the production lines accordingly. In this context, contactless drying can be electric or hydrogen-based. Furthermore, an electrified dryer section and heat pumps offer further possibilities for efficiency increase and energy recovery. Biogas obtained from anaerobic wastewater post-treatment can also contribute to the decarbonization of the papermaking process.
According to Lada Bemert, Vice President New Business & Research at Voith Paper, “In addition to the many future measures, Voith and Koehler are already working closely together to quickly implement short-term decarbonization measures. To this end, we are developing and installing highly efficient solutions to further reduce CO2 emissions.”
“The three dimensions of sustainability – environmental, social and economic – shape our decisions throughout the Koehler Group,” says Dr. Stefan Karrer, Chief Technology Officer at Koehler. “We are very pleased to have Voith as the right partner at our side to successfully pursue our sustainability goals over the long term. The decarbonization development partnership with Voith shows exciting ways of what the paper production of the future will look like.”
Focus on sustainability at production line 8
Resource efficiency was at the heart of the project for production line 8 from the very beginning, as Thomas Kuchinke, Application Manager Coating and Reeling at Voith Paper, confirms. “Koehler Paper is sending a strong signal with the production of sustainable barrier paper,” says Kuchinke. “We are proud to have developed and implemented this state-of-the-art paper machine together with Koehler Paper. Sustainability was a priority throughout the project.”
Since the successful delivery of the Voith line in 2019, the 150-meter-long line has been producing sustainable packaging paper at a design speed of 1,500 meters per minute. The heart of the line is a Yankee cylinder with a diameter of over 7.3 meters, the largest of its kind in the world. The coating machine specifically uses a non-contact, gentle drying process with simultaneous high thermal efficiency, which is achieved by a heat recovery system. In addition, Voith experts implemented a sustainable water management system on the paper machine that significantly reduces fresh water consumption compared to conventional systems. Production line 8 already uses exclusively green electricity from the Schluchsee hydroelectric power plant, enabling Koehler Paper to save 45,000 tons of CO2 every year.
Papermaking for Life sustainability program
As part of the “Papermaking for Life” innovation and development offensive, Voith Paper is presenting versatile technologies and initiatives that lead to more efficient and sustainable processes in papermaking. The focus is on water, energy and fiber savings as well as digitalization, innovations and partnerships as levers for more sustainable production. Another focus is on Voith’s own activities at its locations worldwide.