first boiler plant commissioned in Chile

A steam boiler project delivered to Cartulinas CMPC’s cardboard mill will be completed after the final report has been approved. “A really good performance, given that there were a lot of new things and a relatively tight schedule,” says Pentti Savolainen, Project Development Director at KPA Unicon Ltd. Cooperation with CMPC will continue over the next five years under a separate service agreement.

The CMPC Group is one of the world’s largest forest industry companies, with a turnover of over 5 billion dollars. The steam boiler plant built at CMPC’s Valdivia mill is an important opening in the South American market for KPA Unicon.

“Our technology has never been on this continent before. For the conservative CMPC, this deal was a bold choice. Nevertheless, they chose our plant,” states Savolainen.

The delivery of the boiler plant included all process equipment, buildings, installation supervision, commissioning and operational training. The value of the delivery was approximately 5.6 million euros, excluding construction and foundation work.

Full steam all year round

The new steam boiler plant in Valdivia replaces two old, inefficient biomass boilers which did not comply with the strict environmental regulations of the Valdivia region. Now the steam is generated by wood-based biomass in one single boiler plant. At the same time, the level of emissions produced by the mill has diminished, and the biomass costs have dropped dramatically.

Utilizing cheaper biomass has a major impact, because the fuel is by far the highest operating cost of a biomass boiler plant.

“Before, particularly during winter, the entire steam generating plant had to be shut down several times due to particle emissions exceeding the allowed levels. Each time this meant stopping the entire cardboard production. This was a direct economic loss for the company,” says Savolainen.

With the new Biograte steam boiler plant, the factory can operate continuously throughout the winter months, and its environmental performance is better than before. The plant produces 30 TPH (tons per hour) of steam for the cardboard mill process and it is capable of using the most challenging biomass on the market: bark, wood chips and sawdust. Also, some sludge from the mill’s production is added to the fuel mix.

According to Savolainen, the moisture content of the fuel can exceed 60 percent, and the plant will still meet the set emission levels and other performance criteria.

“The plant remains within the required emission limits under very challenging conditions, and the efficiency is good, i.e. the same amount of steam can be produced with less fuel. The plant’s usability is also very high.”

Machines at the cardboard mill require some daily stoppages. In this case, the steam boiler must also stop steam production at very short notice. When the mill is back in production, the demand for steam increases dramatically, requiring excellent performance from the steam boiler.

“I was amazed at how quickly this boiler reacts to different steam flow and pressure situations. The sound level is minimal, and the emissions are under control. Furthermore, we save money from utilizing cheaper fuel and not having to stop production every time there is a particle emission emergency situation in the Valdivia region,” says Rodrigo Rojas, the Mill Manager of the Cartulinas CMPC Valdivia Mill.