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KME Plans to Build Paper Industry-Powered Waste Incinerator near Lucca

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German copper-based materials producer KME is planning to build an incinerator fueled by pulper residuals as part of a relaunch plan for its factory in Fornaci di Barga, near Lucca, Italy. The plant is very close to the Lucca paper district, an area where 140 paper mills and converters are located and where some 2,000,000 tonnes/yr of paper and paperboard are produced.

"The identified production target for the relaunch [of the Fornaci di Barga factory, 80,000 tonnes/yr] requires an energy supply of some 80,000 MWh/yr, corresponding to a 12-MW power plant. We examined various options but the only one which is able to meet the abovementioned energy needs is the one that applies the waste to energy principle," the company said in a note. It added: "The proximity of the Lucca paper district and the possibility to use their production waste to fuel the electric power plant offers an opportunity of great interest which would have been absurd not to consider."

The Italian paper industry is very interested in the project and is putting pressure on the country’s regional governments to put in place concrete commitments regarding the management of the waste resulting from the paper recycling process. "In Italy, soon more packaging paper will be produced and more will be recycled, because of the development of the circular economy. But paper for recycling, especially that linked to urban collection, is not a pure raw material and the recycling process includes the production of waste," the Italian paper industry association Assocarta said in a press release just before MIAC, the international paper industry exhibition, which took place in Lucca in October 2017. It added: "To retrieve the energy potential [of the waste] means [increasing] competitiveness, increasing the circularity ratio and [generating] benefits in terms of energy costs."

But not everyone is happy about KME’s project: a number of local committees and politicians have already expressed their concern and protested against the construction of the incinerator for environmental reasons. 


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