Choose France”: by 2027, Fibre Excellence will invest €190 M in fluff pulp production and decarbonization

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On the occasion of the 7th edition of “Choose France”, an annual exhibition organized in Versailles to attract foreign investors and promote the advantages of the French destination, Fibre Excellence announced massive investments in France with a budget of €190M which will be deployed over the next three years. Nearly €40 M will be dedicated, by 2026, to the ongoing effort to decarbonize its pulp production sites, Fibre Excellence Provence, in Tarascon (in the Bouches-du-Rhône department, in the South of France) and Fibre Excellence Saint-Gaudens (located in Haute-Garonne, also in the South).

Furthermore, the investment in fluff pulp has been confirmed: €150M will be invested in a new innovative production line at the Provence factory. Equipped with an oxygen delignification process, this line will, in 2027, make it possible to locally supply French manufacturers of absorbent products who are currently forced to import their pulp. This investment will create around ten direct jobs while securing the 260 existing jobs and the 5,000 jobs generated by the site within the French forestry sector. Designed to be economical with water and chemicals, this line will not require any further artificialization of soils and will not result in additional use of wood resources.

€150 M for the new Fluff pulp line: a growing market and R&D with academic partners

Fluff pulp is an essential element in the manufacture of absorbent hygiene products (diapers, incontinence pads, etc.). France currently has no producer of this type of pulp while European demand is constantly increasing: until 2030, forecast annual growth should in fact exceed 2.5%. Currently, around 75% of this demand (or around 1 Mt) is imported from the United States.

Fibre Excellence has worked over the last two years to develop a specific industrial process that makes it possible to transform wood from the South of France into fluff pulp while adopting environmentally friendly practices. Until now, papermaking techniques did not allow this type of wood to be used effectively to produce this quality of pulp. However, thanks to collaboration between its R&D department and academic partners, this obstacle was overcome. By adopting an industrial process based in particular on two stages of delignification, Fibre Excellence will become the first factory in Europe to implement this technology.

Nearly €40 M in continued decarbonization

By promoting a renewable resource from sustainably managed forests, more than 90% of carbon emissions from Fibre Excellence factories are of biogenic origin with a carbon emission factor considered to be zero (source Ademe). However, the company continues to invest in reducing carbon emissions from its sites. From 2026, the main fossil energy-consuming workshops at the two sites will be modernized, in particular the lime kilns. Fibre Excellence Provence plans to invest €25 million to replace the use of fuel oil with by-products from renewable biomass. For its part, Fibre Excellence in Saint-Gaudens will invest €14 million to reduce its gas consumption by nearly 15%. These investments are part of the dynamics of State policies and schemes such as “Decarb Ind” from Ademe, which aim to promote the decarbonization of industries.