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Valmet receives Best EPC Supplier award at Eldorado

Turning a big challenge into a success – this is what happened at the Eldorado Celulose e Papel site when the new greenfield pulp mill started up in the city of Três Lagoas, Brazil, in December 2012. For its work on this project, which was completed within 24 months, Valmet was nominated as the best engineering–procurement–construction (EPC) supplier. The greenfield project involved a brand-new pulp mill sized for 1.5 million tons of production per year, for which Valmet (up till 2014 Metso) supplied a recovery boiler and an evaporation plant, both of these among the largest in the world.

The title of “Best EPC Supplier” for the recovery boiler and evaporation plant was a rewarding outcome on the heels of the successful project implementation and start-up of the Eldorado eucalyptus-pulp mill.

According to Carlos Monteiro, Technical and Industrial Director of Eldorado Celulose e Papel S.A., the nomination was a result of an internal poll of Eldorado’s project-management team: “The award was given to Valmet because of its commitment to reaching the project goals related to schedule, HSE [health, safety, and environment], and quality.”

“We are honored to receive this award. In projects of this magnitude, there are bound to be demanding work phases and unexpected factors, but our experience in similar cases has provided us with the readiness and solutions for taking the Eldorado project to the finish line as planned,” says Celso Tacla, the President of Valmet for South America Area.

Fabrizio Contin, Project Coordinator at Valmet (left), Carlos Monteiro, Technical and Industrial Director of Eldorado, Celso Tacla, President of Valmet in South America, and Francisco Gervasoni, Project Manager at Valmet, receiving the Best EPC Supplier award.

Working as one toward successful execution

“The main challenge in the implementation was to execute a very large project within a tight schedule, while in the meantime a new company was being established,” explains Monteiro. “It has been an enormous venture to start from scratch and be operating today at full capacity – all this in a time frame of three years. The mill could be started up on schedule thanks to good collaboration of all involved, and in this Valmet has been one of the most impressive highlights,” he says.

The value of the award is emphasized on account of the especially demanding role of the recovery boiler supplier in such a project: the amount of materials involved is immense, and the vertical type of construction imposes special challenges. Eldorado, where the boiler is a “twin” of the world’s biggest operating boiler, was no exception here. This means that the building – in this case, 85 meters high – has to be erected before the boiler, which is suspended in the structure of the building. “For these reasons, the recovery boiler usually is on the critical path of the project, offering no shortcuts and very little, if any, room for the project management to manoeuver,” Tacla comments, continuing, “The quality requirements also are extremely high. The boiler operates in very demanding conditions characterized by high operating pressure and high availability requirements. Failures in the pressure-vessel design or erection work could lead to serious damage.” Other challenges successfully overcome included those of transporting the large pieces of equipment to the site from various parts of the world, which required extremely well-executed logistics.

A strong track record in EPC deliveries

Many years’ experience in delivering EPC projects is among Valmet's most important strengths. It was for this reason that Eldorado chose Valmet to deliver the main components for the recovery island. Valmet has also carried out a very large project for a completely new pulp mill for Suzano in the state of Maranhão, in northeastern Brazil, and a contract has been signed for delivery of an almost complete pulp mill for CMPC Celulose Riograndense S.A.’s Guaíba II pulp line. “Our strong EPC organization in South America, supported by an extensive network of trusted construction partners, is built and trained to manage EPC projects in a professional way, enabling maximally efficient utilization of the resources of all parties involved,” Tacla concludes.

Monteiro says, “The capacity and features of the equipment supplied by Valmet address not only return on investment but also the search for solutions that bring high technology to sustainable industrial processes. An example is the recovery boiler and evaporation plant supplied by Valmet, which together represent a clean-energy-generating process using a renewable raw material.”

Valmet has achieved a very strong position as a supplier of recovery technology for recent greenfield pulp mill projects in Brazil. According to Kari Remes, Vice President for Recovery in Valmet’s pulp and energy operations, the strengths behind Valmet’s success include excellent references for extra-large recovery plants: “Smooth global cooperation between our technology centers and the frontline local Brazilian EPC execution center, which professionally manages and implements large and complicated EPC projects, has made it possible for us to achieve excellent results.” He gives credit to the local facilities in Brazil, saying, “The Valmet team played an important role in managing the project through its strong focus on customer needs and project execution, and it will support the customer’s operations through services throughout the equipment life cycle.”

Impressive numbers of Eldorado:

• Recovery boiler + evaporation plant = approximately 20,000 tons of equipment and materials. This is the same mass as 72 A380-800 airplanes!

• The boiler has approximately 500 km of piping and 240 km of cabling.

• The facility is home to the world’s largest evaporation plant in operation. With a capacity of 1.600 t/h of evaporated water, the plant could fill 15 Olympic-sized swimming pools in one day! All this water is condensed, treated, and reused in the pulp-mill process.

• In the busiest part of the project, there were more than 12,000 people working at the site. For the Valmet equipment, there were approximately 2,200 people at work, at the most!

• The electrical power generated by means of the recovery boiler equates to what roughly a million Brazilian families consume or more than three million people consumes in Brazil, if one assumes the average consumption of a typical Brazilian family (150 kWh/month) and 3.2 persons per household!

 

Green electricity and efficiency:

• With the firing of black liquor (remaining from the lignin from the wood and the recovered chemicals), the recovery boiler produces high-pressure steam that flows to the turbo generators, in which green electricity is generated.

• The recovery boiler has high chemical-recovery efficiency, making the mill economically and environmentally sustainable.

• The steam is used in the process of pulp manufacture and in power generation, supplying the entire mill and producing a significant power surplus.

The mill, which began operation in November 2012, uses wood from planted eucalyptus forests, which is a 100% renewable source. To ensure continuous and sustainable supplies to the mill, Eldorado has a forest plan that provides for the planting of about 160,000 hectares of eucalyptus forests in both its own areas and those owned by third parties. Eucalyptus seedlings are produced in a company-owned nursery in Andradina (in the state of São Paulo), which, with its ability to produce 35 million seedlings a year, can meet the needs of the company’s planting program for 30,000 hectares a year.