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Content archived on 2024-05-15

Water loop conditioning concept to improve papermaking competitiveness (WACOPAC)


Scientific objectives and approach:

The participants include two paper mills, five technology suppliers, a research institute and a university. The research organisations operate as a link between the mills and the technology suppliers. Due to dynamic papermaking conditions fresh water consumption is caused for a significant part by product changes and broke. The goal of the project is to investigate enhancement of sustainable management for stock (wood), energy (natural gas and green house effect) and fresh water for different product types by application of a product and process based water treatment concept. In this water conditioning concept end-of pipe is replaced by in-process treatment in the primary loop of the production process. This concept is defined for various products and feedstock and consists of 4 complementary technologies: Fibre selector / remover, Fixed-bed biology, membrane system including a monitoring and control system. In Task 1, the production systems in the participating mills will be examined, and the requirements regarding water system closure will be specified. Task 2 includes development of a dynamic monitoring and control system and to create insight in the dynamic behaviour of the papermaking process. The next phase - operability studies of the several water treatment technologies - is divided into three main tasks (Tasks 3-5). During task 6, the whole treatment concept will be tested on long-term behaviour conditions in the mill. Influences of the obtained water quality will be investigated on product quality and the papermaking production process. In task 7, the results of this project regarding re-design will be adjusted and optimised. This includes revised water balancing, followed by water pinch analysis to localise best economical and technical solutions for the participating mills. Included is an overall cost/benefit analysis for implementation of the concept. Project-, scientific- and exploitation management are standard tasks.

Problems to be solved:

As economic circumstances change and environmental legislation tightens, paper mills are forced to minimise energy, chemistry and water consumption and produce minimum emissions. Without sustainable management further reductions are impossible. As a consequence there is a need for conditioning the overall production system. In this concept a control system is included and process water is conditioned by a combination of environmental friendly treatment technologies in the primary water loop of the production process. The objective is to achieve reduction of freshwater (40%), energy (25%), wood(25%) and chemical(40%) consumption combined with an improvement in runnability, capacity and product quality. Overall profitability will increase with 10 EURO /ton of paper and decrease of off-spec production (50%). The technology suppliers would increase market share. Subsequently employability, working conditions, usage of natural resources and environmental effects will improve.

Expected Impacts:

Achievements are an in-mill tested water treatment concept, which is applicable for paper industry and other industries. Second: increase of knowledge about in-process treatment systems and control systems.
Paper mills will implement results directly, technology suppliers will transfer results into their own network and RTD performer will support. In a co-operation technology suppliers will be able to offer complete systems. Obtained results will be compared with milestones and objectives.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Regenbeekstraat 44

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Total cost
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Participants (8)