German paper mill Zanders has invested around €7m (£6.27m) in converting its on-site power plant from hard coal to natural gas.
Part of a long-term investment programme targeting sustainable increases in efficiency, the business said the gas has been flowing since the end of July and the commissioning of the first boiler is expected to be completed by the end of August.
“We will probably no longer need coal for the steam supply of our plant during normal operation by the end of September,” said Zanders power plant manager Ralf Wenz.
“We are now preparing the conversion of the third boiler, which will take about a year. By that time, both main boilers and the reserve boiler, and thus the entire power plant, will be converted to gas.”
While no update on the company’s insolvency proceedings, which opened in June, had been provided at the time of writing, the business said in June that it would undergo a restructuring but that operations would continue as normal, with customers’ deliveries unaffected.
As well as investing in its plant, the business is continuing to launch new products and will present its new natural barrier paper, Zanbarrier NGR, at FachPack 2018 in Nuremburg, Germany, next month.
Available directly from Zanders and additional to the company’s direct food contact range of papers, which also consists of Zankraft and Zanbarrier OGR, Zanbarrier NGR (natural grease resistant) does not require fluorocarbon or other chemicals for its barrier.
Its natural grease and oil resistance is achieved with an energy-intensive process in which the cellulose fibres are refined several times.
While the product’s natural surface enables it to be printed onto using all normal inks, Zanders said it is important to use inks that are food-safe.
Applications for the substrate, which ranges in thickness from 39-49 microns, include packaging for fast foods, such as doner kebabs and French fries, as well as butter wrappers, bread roll bags, food labels and pizza and confectionery cartons.
Around 500 employees currently work for Zanders, which was founded by Johann Wilhelm Zanders in Bergisch Gladbach, near Cologne, in 1829. The business still operates the Gohrsmühle paper mill there today and produces around 100,000 tonnes annually.