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Boosting raw material and energy efficiency using advanced sheet structure design and fibre modifications

Final Report Summary - BOOSTEFF (Boosting raw material and energy efficiency using advanced sheet structure design and fibre modifications)

The BoostEff project has been focused on the development of new manufacturing concepts for the paper and fibreboard industries. The targeted products play a role in everyday life for people in Europe. One of the main things that these products have in common is that they consume considerable amounts of energy and other natural resources.
In the traditional manufacturing concepts for these products a continuous stream of wood-fibres are processed into planar structures (paper or construction board), where the final material consists of a mix of the constituents of the raw material. The wood-fibre raw material is in itself a heterogeneous mix of different components and with a wide distribution in size, e.g. fibres of varying length, width and flexibility. All these components have different specific impact on product properties such as strengths and surface smoothness.
The project goal has been to develop future manufacturing concepts where the final product has a tailor-made layered structure: fibres and other materials are placed at the optimum position with respect to the required product functionality. This enables manufacturing of products that have similar or better properties compared to conventional products, while at the same time reducing the need for wood-fibre raw material and energy. Indeed if you reduce the use of raw material for a given product energy can be saved in the entire production process.

The developed future manufacturing concepts have been based on a set of available technologies.
These concepts were demonstrated to have clear impacts on the targets, which were:

- Energy efficiency increase > 20%;
- Reduction of emissions of CO2 and other Green House Gases (GHG) > 20%;
- Raw material savings > 20%;
- Operating cost reduction > 10% or productivity increase > 10%.

The results clearly show that the future manufacturing concepts have a huge potential in improving energy and raw material demand, environmental footprint as well as competiveness. Furthermore, the developed concepts show short payback time for the investments needed in order to implement these industrially.
The chosen future manufacturing concepts have had the sole purpose of meeting the targets of the BoostEff project. However, the suggested concepts offer a high degree of flexibility when it comes to what type of products could be obtained and how to make the best benefit of these. Thus it is possible to apply the concepts towards other targets such as e.g. product quality or other product ranges. In addition, since each of these concepts is based on a product specific set of technologies other combinations of these technologies have been identified within the project that can be applied to other products within the industry.
A wide application of the developed concepts and technologies would play an important part in securing the competitiveness of the paper and fibreboard industry in Europe.