SPAIN – Irish corrugated company, Smurfit Kappa has invested US$6.54 million (€6m) at its Sanguesa paper mill in Spain, which will see the construction and installation of up to 12,000 solar panels on land adjacent to the mill.

Smurfit Kappa says that solar panels will reduce CO2 emissions by over 3200 tonnes annually and provide significant cost savings.

Once operational, it is estimated that the panels will generate more than 10 GWh of power annually which will reduce the current external electricity consumption and dependency by 7%.

The Spanish solar energy project is the latest for Smurfit Kappa which has launched similar initiatives in other plants in Spain, Colombia and Mexico to generate sustainable energy.

The mill at Sanguesa is one of Smurfit Kappa’s key facilities that produce light MG kraft paper, a packaging solution widely used across industrial and consumer markets in products such as grocery bags and wrapping paper. Its customer base includes some of Europe’s largest brands.

Commenting on the announcement, Reinhard Reiter, CEO of Smurfit Kappa’s Virgin Fibre Cluster, said: “This investment to harness another renewable source of energy is a testament to Smurfit Kappa’s commitment to sustainability and our desire to make real environmental change at a practical level.

“Through collaboration and hard work, together we can make every aspect of our operations as sustainable as possible in our journey towards net zero.”

Pedro Mendarozketa, General Manager of Smurfit Kappa Sanguesa, added: “We are delighted to officially announce the solar panel investment at our paper mill in Sanguesa.

“The solar panels will enable us to generate sustainable energy, reduce our overall external energy consumption and reduce our CO2 emissions. We look forward to officially unveiling the solar panels later this year.”

According to the company, construction and installation of the solar panels are expected to be completed by the end of this summer.

Meanwhile, Smurfit Kappa held successful trials of what is said to be the ‘world first’ hydrogen turbine at French Saillat in collaboration with the Hyflexpower consortium.

The Hyflexpower project aims to demonstrate that renewable energy can be converted to hydrogen and serve as a flexible means of storing energy which can then be used to power an industrial turbine.

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