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SMART Papers Breaks Ground on new $30 million high-efficiency facility

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Press release from the issuing company

HAMILTON, Ohio, May 13, 2008-SMART Papers has begun construction on a new $30 million high-efficiency energy co-generation facility at its manufacturing center here that marks an important first for the North American papermaking industry.  By early 2009, SMART Papers will produce all of its own power and begin a transition to 100% cellulosic biomass fuel.  By late 2009, all products will be fully carbon neutral and produced 100% fossil fuel free, company officials said.

SMART Papers, which makes premium coated and uncoated printing papers for businesses and consumers, including Fortune 500 companies, said its products will be carbon-neutral because its manufacturing center will be powered by 100% biomass, primarily yard waste as well as industrial wood and fiber waste.  Biomass emits no net carbon dioxide because the carbon in the biomass originates from carbon dioxide that was recently in the atmosphere.

The project's full scope will enable SMART Papers to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions at its Hamilton manufacturing facility, located 25 miles northwest of Cincinnati.  No food crops will be used, no farmland will be displaced and no timber will be harvested to provide fuel, the company said.

The $30 million investment and drive to achieve full carbon neutrality at SMART Papers comes as the State of Ohio and the U.S. government develop new laws and regulations on carbon emissions.  The Ohio Senate and House recently passed legislation, which requires that up to 12.5 percent of the state's electricity consumption come from renewable sources by 2025.  Under the law, half of that must be generated within Ohio.

SMART Papers officials said they are well positioned to play an important role in helping the State of Ohio meet its goal because the company will sell a significant amount of power on the electrical grid.  By the end of 2010, all of the power supplied to the regional grid will be carbon neutral-providing a source of 100% "green" energy for businesses and homes throughout Ohio and the Midwest U.S.

Details on the new project

The newly expanded 40-megawatt co-generation system, which ultimately will use 100% biomass fuel to generate electricity and steam to operate the mill, consists of four turbines, two condensers, a cooling tower and auxiliary equipment.

Honeywell International supplied the co-generation system and is supervising project construction at the SMART Papers facility.  Construction began in late April and is expected to be complete by Spring 2009.   The company has received all necessary permits for the project.

The move solidly positions the 115-year-old manufacturing center and its 550 employees for the future.  SMART Papers will use a low-cost and plentiful supply of renewable fuel and will be fully energy independent.  The facility, one of the oldest continuously operating paper mills in the U.S., is where coated magazine papers, coated two-side papers and ultra-premium cast-coated printing papers were invented and first produced.

SMART Papers Leaders Discuss Significance

"SMART Papers is the first North American premium papermaker to begin the process of becoming truly 100% carbon neutral and fossil fuel free in its papermaking production," said SMART Papers Chairman Tim Needham.  "This is a major environmental advance in papermaking-we have set a new standard for environmentally responsible printing papers."

"The production of these papers will leave the lightest environmental footprint of any premium coated or uncoated printing paper produced in North America," Needham added.

The SMART Papers manufacturing center was an early industry leader in the production of 100% recycled premium printing papers-and the company has continued to expand its environmental leadership.  It currently uses up to 100% post-consumer waste to produce many of its premium coated and uncoated papers.  It also has Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for the majority of its brands.  "We are committed to being the green leader in the global paper manufacturing industry," Needham said.

"This move to carbon-neutral production is the centerpiece of our environmental and energy strategies.  It enables us to have a future that is completely independent of volatile energy markets," said Dan Maheu, President and COO of SMART Papers.  "We will reduce production costs, make carbon-neutral papers and greatly reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.  We will also be a positive contributor to the green power needs of Ohio and the Midwest."

Maheu said SMART Papers has bought and sold power from the local utility for the last 10 years.  But the current power generation facility at the mill did not maximize return of its fuel inputs.  New turbines were needed to substantially increase the amount of electrical energy that could be produced.

The biomass fuel that will be used in the co-generation facility is made up of short-fiber cellulosic waste material that is typically landfilled.  Biomass is widely available in the region.  The State of Ohio ranks No. 7 nationwide in the availability of biomass stocks, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

SMART Papers said the project will generate carbon credits that can be bought and sold on the open market.

"We see our approach as the smart choice," said Maheu.  "We will be a more efficient manufacturer, fiscally and environmentally responsible, and energy independent.  This will benefit our business, our customers, our employees and the environment.  We will always push to exceed customer expectations when it comes to environmental stewardship."




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