Solar thermal integration project in Condat paper mill

Project Description

Condat is part of the LECTA Group, a leading European maker and distributor of special papers for labels and flexible packaging, coated and uncoated paper for publishing and commercial printing, and other high added value printing media. Condat has developed a decarbonisation project with the company : building a plant that produces heat from solar energy, supplying the paper mill with hot water for its paper production process and reducing the consumption of fossil energy. This project is the first step in our energy transition to a low-carbon site.

The project is innovative not only from a technical point of view, but also commercially, as the solar thermal plant is built, owned and operated by newHeat, a company which design, finance, build and operate renewable heat and waste-heat production units. It integrates state-of-the-art technologies from suppliers such as Savosolar, which makes flat plate collectors used in largescale solar thermal applications, and Exosun, a supplier of solar tracking technology. The project was promoted by LECTA management both internally and externally and was also supported by local authorities.

Project Purpose

The decarbonisation project consisted in building a greenfield solar thermal plant featuring 4,211 m² of solar panels with a peak heating capacity of 3.4 MW.

The solar thermal plant aims at reducing natural gas consumption though the supply of renewable hot water to the Condat paper mill. Overall, this project has also improved energy efficiency and reduced operating costs.

Project Evaluation

Main features of this project are i) a production of about 3,900 MWh/ year of renewable heat, ii) a decrease of fossil use in steam boilers (equivalent to a reduction of carbon emissions of 1,000 t/year) and iii) an improvement of steam management at the paper mill thanks to higher flexibility of steam production facilities.

This solar thermal plant is the largest installation in France and also the first of its kind in the world though the use of solar tracking systems. This project has become a benchmark for the production of solar heat, and similar projects may be developed in the company and elsewhere in France and Europe.

Stéphane de Gelis

Condat director

What is exceptional about the project?
We consider sustainability to be a key driver for innovation.
This solar thermal plant is a great challenge, which positively influences the
climate. This project is exceptional because of the combination of an innovative
start-up – is focused on solar energy- and a century-old heavy industry, supported
by ADEME, the French agency for energy transition.

Can this project be a successful model for the future?
Solar energy is free and available wherever we are. Our eco-responsible approach
is a key contribution to protecting the planet. Taking advantage of this free
energy requires available land and a consumer located nearby. However, it is
obvious to develop new solar thermal plants for paper industry, and every
organisation which needs heat, e.g. for district heating.

Is the project part of a bigger scheme towards decarbonisation?
The solar thermal plant takes a significant step forward towards our decarbonisation
goals in Condat – LECTA. Several actions and projects have been completed
or are in progress: electricity from the renewable production plant, and a
refuse-derived fuel (RDF) boiler to provide low-carbon steam based on circular

Main features:

CO2 Emissions saved (tCO2)
1,000 T CO2/year

€2.2 million

3.9 GWh/year

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