LeaseGreen increases board mill’s energy system efficiency in Finland.

LeaseGreen is working to improve the energy system at the board mill owned by Kotkamills through an investment project that aims to boost the productivity and increase the energy efficiency of the industrial process. Some of the steam previously used for heating the properties in the industrial precinct is being replaced by secondary waste heat resources, for which purpose LeaseGreen is building a new heating system and heat exchangers in the area.

The new system will free up 6 MW of the maximum capacity of the factory’s natural gas boiler, which can then be channelled to the company’s growing board and paper production processes. Steam consumption will be reduced by around 18 GWh per year.

“We have long been surveying methods that would allow us to reduce our use of expensive live steam in heating our facilities”, explains Kotkamills Oy’s Technical Director, Timo Tallinen.

“LeaseGreen helped us to find a solution by which we can save a large amount of steam, while making more effective use of it in our core process of board and paper drying.”

LeaseGreen has applied an all-inclusive model to the Kotkamills investment project, encompassing everything from planning the investments to executing them, providing financing, and starting up the new system. The cost of the investment is paid using LeaseGreen’s monthly plan, which will have a cash flow-positive effect for Kotkamills from the very first year. The agreement’s duration is five years. Naturally, the investment will also have a profit-enhancing effect.

“The energy system modernisation in Kotka will be financed entirely through the savings produced by the investment”, says LeaseGreen CEO Tomi Mäkipelto. “This means Kotkamills will not need to tie its own investment assets into the project, and no collateral securities are needed.”

Kotkamills Group Oyj manufactures sawn timber products, high-quality laminating paper and exceptionally eco-friendly boards in the south-eastern Finnish town of Kotka. Its board products, which are particularly suitable for use in the food and packaging industries, are 100% plastic-free and recyclable. The company has around 530 employees and its revenue for 2017 totalled EUR 288 million. The new heating system will be completed in December 2018.

Timo Tallinen has been Kotkamills’ Technical Director for three years. He feels that the service fee model used for the energy investment was a good match for the company’s objectives. In Tallinen’s view, the situation at Kotkamills is similar to the Finnish process industry as a whole: each unit’s investment assets are channelled directly to improving the competitiveness of its key machinery, which means that companies often hold off on carrying out investments that would improve their energy efficiency.

“This cash flow-positive service model allows us to kick off an investment that will work out highly profitable for us”, Tallinen says.

“We appreciate LeaseGreen’s active and comprehensive approach to tailoring the project to our needs, encompassing everything from preliminary technical planning to financing. LeaseGreen offered us preliminary planning free of charge, and always works flexibly and takes into account its customers’ ideas. Sometimes these can be bounced back and forwards, and new thoughts can arise during the process. This has been the case here, too, but we are still progressing steadily according to schedule, and we are in fact already planning our next project together.”

LeaseGreen has carried out extensive energy projects for numerous process industry production plants. Some of the sites where projects have been completed in 2018 include the Adara Pakkaus corrugated board plant in Valkeakoski, and K. Hartwall in Sipoo, which is the leading zinc coating plant in the Nordic region. LeaseGreen has also improved the energy efficiency of the Nordic countries’ largest newspaper printing facility, Sanomala, and of the Isku furniture factory.

“There is great potential within energy efficiency for the process industry sector, and we want to release that potential to benefit industrial operators”, Mäkipelto says.

“LeaseGreen’s project planners and managers can optimise a factory’s energy efficiency, ensuring that the factory’s in-house professionals can focus on maximising production quality and delivery reliability.”