Supplying green energy to Austrian communities

Yes, pulp and paper manufacturing is energy intensive. But with Sappi, the energy we both consume and produce is increasingly green AND beneficial to surrounding communities. Take a look at what we’ve achieved at Gratkorn mill and beyond in the surrounding municipalities in Austria. 

Gratkorn mill  

With a 400-year legacy of paper-making excellence and a facility with state-of-the-art technology, Gratkorn mill produces some of our finest graphic paper out of Europe. But the mill is increasingly known for something else…warming 21,000 households in the nearby city of Graz.   

Like in many Sappi mills, Gratkorn uses the heat generated during industrial processes to create steam that produces electricity, fuelling the mill with a tremendous source of green energy. It’s helped us become thriving producers, not just consumers of energy.   

Eco-effective results from a € 30 million investment   

How did we do it? Well, after investing over € 30 million in eco-effective upgrades, Gratkorn’s energy needs declined significantly. So much that we’re now able to send the excess heat to the local utility, Energie Graz. It’s all part of a landmark deal in partnership with Bioenergie Wärmeservice (BWS) that should supply 21,000 households with heat for the next 20 years.  

This development marks a big step forward in the city of Graz’s ambitious plan to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and transition to a zero-carbon future. It’s a goal that we too share at Sappi and are excited to support with more eco-effective action.        

Already, the Mill has started delivering heat to additional households in the municipalities of Gratkorn and Gratwein-Straßengel in partnership with Wärme Graz Nord. This move is expanding the number of households supported from 21,000 to 22,500.

A continuous journey 

Gratkorn mill has achieved much more than this green energy win in its long-running eco-effective mission. Here are some other remarkable milestones reached on their continuous journey.   

  • Use of locally harvested wood from sustainably managed forests (70% sawmill waste and 30% thinnings) as well as peroxide bleaching technology. 
  • Achieving recycling rates amongst the best in the industry with low raw material losses and less water consumption. 
  • Preference for low-carbon rail transport to move raw resources and finished products.  
  • Treating all wastewater with oxygen aeration before returning it to the river Mur, a pure-water river. 

Beyond Gartkorn, we operate combined heat and power plants in many of our mills worldwide. The eco-efficiencies they generate make them twice as energy efficient as conventional power plants.