Local geothermal steam a winner

17 Nov 2021

Essity, a Swedish headquartered hygiene and health company, is committing to reducing its carbon emissions at its Kawerau site in New Zealand by introducing the world’s first tissue machine running a fully geothermal steam drying process.

Production of tissue paper consumes a lot of heat, extracting moisture from the wood pulp mix, pressing and drying to create well-known tissue product brands such as Purex, Sorbent, Handee and TORK.

Over 50,000 tonnes of toilet tissue and paper towel products are manufactured each year at the Kawerau site. Converting the heat source used to dry tissue paper made in Kawerau on one of its two paper machines from natural gas to local renewable geothermal steam will reduce the company’s overall carbon footprint from 36,900 tCO2e/year to 26,600 by the end of 2025.

By eliminating the burning of natural gas and reducing waste and pulp consumption in the manufacturing process, Essity will reduce emissions from the Kawerau site by 23 per cent.  

“We’re setting new industry standards when it comes to sustainable tissue production. Investing in the world’s first tissue machine running a fully geothermal steam process is ground-breaking. By reducing our carbon emissions, we can offer our customers and consumers more climate-friendly products”, says Magnus Groth, president and CEO, Essity.  

The investment in steam drying is being partly funded through the Government Investment in Decarbonising Industry (GIDI) Fund, administered by EECA (Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority).