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The Greenest Tissue Paper in the World

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ONEPLY (The Greenest Tissue Paper in the World)

Berichtszeitraum: 2016-11-01 bis 2017-05-31

LC Paper 1881, SA. is a family business located on the town of Besalú, in the eastern side of the Catalan Pyrenees. The company produce and supply kraft and tissue paper, combining recycled sources and pulp, to converting companies for further conversion into final products. Today, LC Paper continues to develop technology in the tissue manufacturing sector to meet the needs of today's customers and society and create environmentally sustainable products. In 2015 LC Paper produced 48,000 tons and exported to more than 20 countries. Every product that leaves our factory is certified with the Ecolabel, PSFC and FSC. LC Paper has the ISO 14001, ISO 14067 and ISO 50001.
In 2009 LC Paper started a research and innovation process in the manufacture of tissue paper. A re-engineering of the tissue paper manufacturing process has allowed us to achieve an energetic consumption of 1,350 kWh/T and a water consumption of 2.5 m3/T, numbers that are unheard of in the tissue sector. But still more revolutionary is the objective of introducing the OnePly® tissue paper, a monolayer product which reduces the need for raw materials, energy and water. This product is designed with one single player, unlike conventional tissue papers with two or three layers. With one layer one can save from 11% to 23% in fiber, 38% of energy consumption for production and 17% of transport costs compared to conventional 2-layer paper.
OnePly® product aims to offer a competitive alternative to TAD products with a 80% cut in energy and 60% cut in water consumed in the manufacturing process. TAD (Through Air Drying) technology was born in the USA and one-layer TAD products have been widely adopted by the market despite the low efficiency and considerable environmental impact of this process.
The premium characteristics of final OnePly® products can only be achieved throught the wise tuning of tissue paper manufacturing and converting processes. Aware that converting companies are not prepared for producing premium products from high grammage tissue papers such as OnePly®, we have designed, validated and patented an embossing process tailored to OnePly®. The main objectives of this project are (1) to bring this innovative embossing process to an industrial scale and (2) to optimize the OnePly® production process in our papermaking machines. The converting line incorporating the new embossing process has been built in our plant, validated and optimized. LC Paper aims at reaching the highest productivity and efficiency in the tissue industry as well as successfully introducing OnePly® based products in the market.
The first year of the project has been devoted to 1) design and build the industrial tissue converting line which integrates the new embossing process, 2) optimize the manufacturing process of OnePly® tissue paper in the papermaking machines, 3) design and build the new industrial building in LC Paper’s plant that accommodates the converting line and 4) undertake commercial actions to ensure the successful commercialization of OnePly® products both in the Away-from-Home market (i.e. industrial and commercial) and the consumer market.
The second period of the project has been devoted to 1) start-up and test the new converting line, 2) observe and learn about all the factors that influence the quality of the final product, 3) develop the different OnePly® products, 4) fine-tune the process parameters both in the converting process and papermaking process, 5) assess the life cycle of OnePly products, and 6) continue the dissemination and commercialization activities.
The technology developed has led to the creation of a OnePly tissue with high softness, high absorbency and excellent hand-feel with a grammage of only 26 g/m2 for toilet paper and 32 g/m2 for towel paper whereas standard products in the market feature 34 g/m2 and 38 g/m2, respectively. Furthermore, our continuous efforts to cut down primary energy and water consumption by smart product design and process reengineering has allowed us to achieve values hard to imagine in the tissue industry. If a conventional toilet with 34 g/m2 has a manufacturing energy consumption of 0.102 kWh/m2, the new OnePly toilet paper developed thanks to the Horizon 2020 project requires an energy consumption of only 0.032 kWh/m2, 70% lower! As a consequence the environmental impact of LC Paper’s process is dramatically reduced compared with the conventional manufacturing process (20% higher than OnePly) and with TAD process (50% higher than OnePly).
OnePly® is a product developed by LC Paper, aiming to achieve the goals of TAD paper quality with a much lower energy cost. This product is designed with one single ply, unlike conventional tissue papers with two or three layers. Since the minimum weight established for this product is above 26 g/m2, it ensures that there are no free spaces between fibres, reaching a good internal capillary. The intense creping operation performed in the papermaking machine leads to a product with excellent absorption capacity and softness. The desired bulk can be easily achieved with a proper embossing process.
The embossing operation is synergic with the creping, and has similar characteristics. The paper gets a surface modification, transforming a planar object to three-dimensional. The embossing modification is substantial, as the paper fibres suffer a vertical elongation, breaking some fibres and displacing others, affecting the paper resistance. An embossing process that is not the adequate to the characteristics of the paper leads to poor embossing quality while also dust is produced by the fibre breaks. Our new approach allows fibres to swell easily. This solution led to the extremely interesting tissue quality (similar to TAD) while maintaining energy costs controlled (lower than alternative approaches), and avoiding dust generation on premises. The final result is a paper with more absorbency per gram than the TAD, smoother, and with a better price.
Transportation costs are significantly reduced with OnePly® as it enables fitting more meters of product in less volume compared to TAD (2.3x volume). The impact is both on energy consumption in transport and on price. Compared to conventional tissue paper the OnePly® has a transport cost which is equal or slightly lower.
OnePly® allows to design new tissue products with less use of raw materials, energy and water as well as lower manufacturing and converting costs. But the major achievement of the action is the significant reduction of the environmental impact of our tissue products compared to the existing products and manufacturing technologies in the market. LC Paper’s OnePly® products have the lowest environmental impact in the industry. If consumers changed to OnePly® tissue our estimations show that the environmental impact would be reduced by half compared to standard tissue (from 0.076 kg CO2 eq/m2 of conventional and 0.121 kg CO2 eq/m2 of TAD to only 0.035 kg CO2 eq/m2 of OnePly®).