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Voith and Essity partners to research a process for sustainable paper production

HEIDENHEIM, GERMANY. With the goal to driving the decarbonization of the paper industry with innovative solutions, Voith is working on a concept to enable CO2-neutral paper manufacturing.

To drive forward the further development of this groundbreaking process, Voith has entered a partnership with Essity, a leading global hygiene and health company. To conduct further research into the completely new approach, a pilot plant was installed at Voith’s Heidenheim site that is set to commence normal operation later this year.  

An important milestone on this journey has now been reached: The project is to receive funding within the scope of the BMWK “Decarbonization of Industry” program and the EU’s “NextGenerationEU” fond. These initiatives are designed to permanently reduce industrial greenhouse gas emissions. The subsidy is worth approximately €14.5 million.

On May 7, 2024, at Voith’s headquarters in Heidenheim, Dr. Franziska Brantner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the BMWK, presented the official funding notice to Dr. Toralf Haag, CEO of the Voith Group, and Andreas Endters, CEO of Voith Paper. This was followed by a tour of the newly built pilot plant.

“The BMWK decided to fund the project because it makes a significant contribution to the decarbonization of the paper industry,” Dr. Brantner stressed. “This is a genuinely trailblazing project. The pilot plant is therefore sending out a powerful message for the Heidenheim location and the entire industry.”

The process that will now undergo further research with the funding from the BMWK is designed to enable a fundamentally new CO2-neutral manufacturing process thanks to a pioneering process technology. It marks a breakthrough in sustainable paper production. The new technology is targeting new benchmarks for sustainability by reducing water consumption by up to 95 percent and energy use by up to 40 percent. The entire pilot line will be 100 percent electrically powered, which allows fossil fuels to be dispensed with completely and thus facilitates climate-friendly production. Voith and Essity are combining their expertise to drive the successful realization of this project.

As well as representatives of Voith and Essity, the event also welcomed other guests: Peter Polta, District Administrator of Heidenheim; Michael Salomo, Mayor of Heidenheim; Markus Maier, President of the East Württemberg Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Leni Breymaier, SPD member of the German Federal Parliament. State Parliamentarian Martin Grath (Alliance 90/Greens) was represented by Johannes Paus and Clara Resch who both work on his constituency team. 

“The funding is a very positive signal for Voith and the entire industry. It reaffirms yet again our business strategy with its clear focus on the development of sustainable technologies,” explains Dr. Toralf Haag, CEO of the Voith Group. “With the successful commissioning of the pilot line, we have reached another milestone on our journey to CO2-neutral paper production within the scope of our sustainability initiative ‘Papermaking for Life,’” says Andreas Endters, CEO of Voith Paper. “The investments in research and development are evidence of our consistent focus on sustainable and efficient solutions.”

“As a leading global hygiene and health company, we want to drive forward the decarbonization of the paper industry,” says Magnus Groth, President and CEO of Essity. “Together with Voith, we are completely rethinking papermaking and are developing a pioneering technology that will make CO2-neutral production possible.”

Funding from the BMWK is earmarked for a specific purpose and is intended to help reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the paper industry. It supports the achievement of the reduction target in the industrial sector in accordance with the German Climate Change Act. The subsidy of approximately €14.5 million will be paid out based on the successful progress of the project.

About Essity

Essity is a leading global hygiene and health company. Every day, billions of people worldwide use our products and solutions. We aim to break barriers – for more well-being among consumers, patients, carers, customers and society. We sell our products and solutions in around 150 countries under many strong brands, including world market leaders TENA and Tork, but also well-known brands like Actimove, Cutimed, JOBST, Knix, Leukoplast, Libero, Libresse, Lotus, Modibodi, Nosotras, Saba, Tempo, TOM Organic and Zewa. Essity employs around 36,000 people worldwide and had net sales of about €13 billion in 2023. Essity has its headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and is listed on Nasdaq Stockholm.

At €1.6 billion (2023), Germany is Essity’s strongest market in Europe in terms of sales. In Germany, the company offers sustainable products and solutions to ensure more hygiene, health and wellbeing in all phases of life. Its best-known brands include TENA and Tork, Tempo tissues and Zewa toilet paper, the recycling brand DANKE, Demak’Up makeup removal products, and the medical brands Leukoplast, Actimove, Cutimed, Delta-Cast and JOBST. As well as administrative centers in Hamburg, Mannheim and Munich, the company has production facilities in Emmerich, Hamburg, Mainz-Kostheim, Mannheim, Neuss and Witzenhausen and a workforce of around 5,000 people.

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