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If you want a green manufacturing career, this is the place for you

Dany Gagnon
August 08, 2017

Forest products is an inherently green industry rooted in trees, a renewable resource, with a strong emphasis on recyclable products like paper. And the Temiscaming site converts manufacturing residuals into green energy, reflecting our drive to use the whole tree.

Green energy is helping fuel the Temiscaming transformation

The site’s green energy facility generates electricity with a turbine driven by steam produced by two boilers that that use as fuel 400,000 metric tons of residuals in a year:

  • 218,000 metric tons of red liquor from our specialty cellulose manufacturing process;
  • 147,000 metric tons of biomass (bark and sawdust from sawmills, and forest residuals like stumps); and
  • 35,000 metric tons of sludge from the site’s wastewater treatment facility.

Electricity revenues, through a 25-year contract with Hydro-Québec that started in 2015, are helping make the site more cost-efficient. This is critical to our ongoing transformation. Since keeping track of output is part of the transformation mindset, this post includes some interesting statistics.

The site had a record high output of electricity in June (50 megawatt hours) and it was even higher in July (51.25 megawatt hours), reflecting a major effort to optimize this operation.

Residuals account for 75% of the steam produced and 25% is from natural gas. Steam is also used in our pulp, paper and specialty cellulose manufacturing operations. The high usage of residuals has reduced costs, because we need less natural gas. And since there is a steady supply of high quality steam, our mills are also more efficient. One good thing leads to another.

Additional energy sources across the Temiscaming site

The anaerobic wastewater treatment facility at the site is a classic example of a sustainable operation that is good for business, the environment and society:

  • It also processes wastewater from the nearby town of Temiscaming;
  • It produces sludge, 100% of which we use as fuel (as described above); and
  • It produces methane – biogas. Our pulp mill has found a way to use 100% of this biogas as fuel, replacing natural gas, which reduces costs and greenhouse gas emissions (when methane burns to produce heat, it becomes carbon dioxide, which is some 20 times less harmful to the atmosphere than methane). We used to flare off 25% of the methane, so I see this both as a continuous improvement story and a green story.

We have also invested a lot of effort over the last two years to collect and productively use more of the site’s process gases. In technical terms, these are called high volume, low concentration (HVLC) emissions.

We collect these gases from vents on tanks, and pipe them to the boiler at our green energy facility, where they serve as another source of chemicals to control our air emissions. Exhaust from the boiler is treated by the scrubbers in our stacks, reducing our caustic and ammonia emissions from HVLC emissions, and reducing odors as well.

Small efforts add up

We are now working on trials with the Ministry of the Environment to use old pallets as fuel in one of our boilers. This would be another energy source that also reduces landfill.

The site’s organic waste is collected and composted locally, rather than going to landfill. And last year, 6,500 metric tons of red liquor from the site were used in the production of animal feed.

Good environmental performance and good operating performance go hand in hand – using all possible waste as energy sources reduces landfill, while reducing costs and increasing efficiencies at the mill.Everyone wins!

Everything starts in responsibly managed forests

The Tembec-managed public forestlands which supply the site meet standards set by the internationally-recognized Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®). Tembec has also achieved Chain of Custody certification, a guarantee to consumers that any product with the FSC label can be tracked back to an FSC certified source.

Tembec’s longstanding commitment to responsible forestry has led in recent years to a heightened effort to protect species at risk, including the woodland caribou and turtles, through actions like expanding buffer zones and changing the timing of harvesting.

Wherever Tembec has woodlands operations, the company maintains partnership agreements with First Nations that take into account their established rights and interests (the Temiscaming and Ottawa River watershed regions are territories of Algonquin Nations). The annual process to update and extend these agreements proceeds in parallel with the approval process for Tembec’s forestry plans with provincial ministries of natural resources. This results in harmonized plans for harvesting, timing, reforestation, buffer zones and habitat that reflect First Nations’ input.

About Dany Gagnon

Dany GagnonDany, who joined Tembec in September 2015 with a mandate to lead the transformation, is building on his success leading change management programs in the automotive, brewing and agri-food industries. He is a mechanical engineer with a specialization in aeronautics and has a certification in process management. His global perspective reflects his experience working in the US, Asia and Europe, as well as Canada.

Temiscaming site, in brief

  • One of the largest forest products manufacturing sites in North America.
  • 800 site employees – 80% unionized under one collective agreement / 20% staff.
  • Three main mills that manufacture different forest products: specialty cellulose, high-yield pulp and coated bleached board (containerboard); and a chemical products facility.

Temiscaming transformation

The objective is to make Temiscaming a highly-competitive world-class operation for the long term. This will enable us to meet customer expectations for quality and reliability, as well as community expectations for sustainability, while ensuring profitability for Tembec.