Sweetwater West Enhancements to Save Energy, Reduce Carbon Dioxide

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Environmental Stewardship


December 6, 2022

Sweetwater, Texas – The Georgia-Pacific gypsum plant Sweetwater West, located in Sweetwater, Texas, recently completed board-drying equipment enhancements anticipated to result in CO2 reduction, energy savings, and the lowering of resource consumption.  

The installation of an Energy Optimization System (EOS) (also known as exhaust heat recovery) at the plant included the installation of new ducting, two new fans, and a new exhaust stack to an existing four-zone dryer.  

The Sweetwater West Exhaust and Energy Optimization system, also known as an Exhaust Heat Recovery System.

The Sweetwater West Exhaust and Energy Optimization system, also known as an Exhaust Heat Recovery System.

Before the EOS conversion, each of the four zones within the plant exhausted waste heat to the atmosphere. The newly upgraded system enables the collection of the waste exhaust from the first three zones and injects it into the fourth zone, allowing the useful heat to be recovered before exhausting it at a lower temperature. When combined, the waste exhaust streams from the first three zones contain almost all the heat required by the fourth zone, enabling the burner in that zone to operate at a lower capacity. 

The result is net energy savings equivalent to powering approximately 441 homes for one year and a reduction of 2,500 tons per year of CO2 emissions, equivalent to about 489 passenger vehicles on the roads for one year. 

“Advancements in energy savings and resource consumption reduction are goals toward which Georgia-Pacific works every single day,” said David Neal, vice president of Gypsum Operations for Georgia-Pacific. “At Georgia-Pacific, our focus is to make progress daily, improving performance by living a principle of stewardship, embracing creative destruction, improving efficiencies, eliminating waste, and finding new ways of meeting needs and driving conservation activities that leave more resources available to satisfy other needs in society.”