After more than nine month of downtime, Austrian company Austrocel has resumed production at its Hallein pulp mill.
Production at the Austrian site had been stopped on 2 June 2021 due to a toxic gas leak. The restart for the site was delayed several times. Following a technical assessment, the restart had now been approved on 31 March, the company announced. The primarily Asian customers for dissolving pulp from Hallein have reportedly already placed their orders. The production of bio-ethanol for oil and gas company OMV has also started up again.
In the past weeks, Austrocel has upgraded and tested the plant to ensure its functionality and safety. Amongst others, the pulp digester was renewed and an electronic safety control system installed.
Austrocel describes itself as one of the market leaders in China for dissolving pulp. Austrocel uses around 370,000 tpy b.d. of softwood chips for the production of pulp. The company puts its dissolving pulp output at 160,000 tpy, and its annual production of district heat totals 100 GWh. Austrocel also generates 100 GWh of electricity per year. It has 300 employees and has sales of around €130m.
Impacts on German woodchips market
The outage at Austrocel had temporarily caused an increase in woodchip supply in southern Germany. Woodchhip suppliers said they felt the reduced demand and encountered some sales problems.