Resource-efficient circular economy in practice: PROGROUP upgrades its manufacturing facilities to zero-waste status
In August 2020, Progroup opened the high-tech PM3 paper mill in Sandersdorf-Brehna near Leipzig. It is one of the most modern and efficient in the world. The family-owned manufacturer of containerboard and corrugated sheetboard has invested more than €100 million in environmental protection technologies alone. One component of this is a new type of closed-loop water treatment plant which not only reduces the use of fresh water by 80% but also biologically degrades waste paper impurities as part of the water treatment process and converts them into biogas.
The entire plant thereby reduces the consumption of fossil resources by 10%. In 2022, Progroup produced more than 46,000 MWh of biogas which it then used as a substitute for natural gas. Since spring 2023, the company has been building a waste-to-energy power plant in Sandersdorf-Brehna, thus upgrading its facility to zero-waste status. It is Progroup’s second power plant after the one at Eisenhüttenstadt.
Ziele des Projektes
• Closing the water cycle: Reduction of fresh water use by 80%.
• Closing the materials cycle: Thermal utilisation in the waste-to-energy power plant of residual materials from paper production and from local recycling cycles that can no longer be reused for material purposes -> Supply of PM3 with resource-saving process heat and electricity -> Upgrading to zero-waste status
• Reduction of CO2 emissions: Savings of 170,000 tonnes of CO2 per year already, thanks to the state-of-the-art technology of the PM3; further savings of 80,000 tonnes of CO2 per year thanks to new power plant -> Milestone on the way to independence from fossil fuels and to complete carbon neutrality by 2045
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CO2 emissions saved
80,000 tonnes of CO2 per year (from waste-to-energy power plant alone)
€135 million for new power plant construction
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