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Hawesville Mill Wood Chip Conveyor Reduces Emissions, Improves Safety

Hawesville Mill Continuous Improvement projects

Domtar’s Hawesville Mill in Hawesville, Kentucky, has been recognized as a leader in business and sustainability. It’s received several awards, including the 2016 Kentucky Governor’s Safety Award, and was named Kentucky Manufacturer of the Year in 2016. One of the key projects that led to these awards is a wood chip conveyor system that reduces emissions and improves safety.

In 2013, Domtar built a world-class wood chip conveyor that stretches from the Ohio River waterfront all the way to the Hawesville Mill’s gates. The mile-long conveyor moves 750,000 tons of wood chips each year from barges to the mill; that volume represents a pile of chips as high as the Empire State Building and as wide as a football field.

By transporting wood chips with this system, the mill eliminates more than 500,000 miles of truck traffic each year, which means less local traffic and noise, and less wear and tear on local highways. The update reduces emissions by saving 110,000 gallons of fuel annually and improves safety by eliminating 54,000 annual truck trips past local schools and through congested areas around the mill.

The conveyor system, which cost $10 million to build, improves the mill’s long-term competitiveness, lessens its environmental impact and reduces emissions. It also improves the quality of life of its neighbors and communities.

“The new barge unloading conveyor system is a tremendous asset both to our facility and to the community here.” said Steve Henry, Domtar’s vice president of strategy and business analysis. Henry, former manager of the Hawesville Mill, oversaw the project. “I know our employees are very glad to see that Domtar invested 10 million dollars in the long-term viability of our facility. We are equally proud of the fact that it is going to reduce our environmental footprint here in the community, and also help support the safety of the local roads.”

To learn more about Domtar’s Hawesville conveyor belt and how Domtar uses technology and innovation to help reduce emissions and improve safety and sustainability, you can watch the video Conveying Sustainability at Hawesville. You can also learn more about many of Domtar’s innovative sustainability efforts in the most recent Sustainability Report.