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BOOSTEFF Report Summary

Project ID: 246049
Funded under: FP7-NMP
Country: Sweden

Periodic Report Summary 2 - BOOSTEFF (Boosting raw material and energy efficiency using advanced sheet structure design and fibre modifications)

Project Context and Objectives:
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 Hoas well as competitiveness. Furthermore, the developed concepts show short g 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.

Project Results:
The three Future Manufacturing Concepts (FMCs), which forms the core of the project, were divided into two work packages each, one aimed at research and technical development and one aimed at demonstration. During the second half of the project the work has focused on demonstrating the impact of the technologies that were identified during the first period. This has been dove by demonstrating the technologies individually as well as in combination.

The overall objective of the work performed towards manufacturing of uncoated magazine paper or SC-paper was to demonstrate significant reductions in energy and raw material demand in pilot-scale and mill-scale for the production of SC-paper. The following technical solutions demonstrated in the future manufacturing concepts for SC-paper:
• A stock preparation process based on fractionation to treat the worst fraction separately
• Switching from a single layer paper sheet to a stratified sheet using fibre and filler layering as well as layering of chemical additives
• Strength additives for increased sheet strength
When these technologies are combined and utilized to 2/3 of their potential it was demonstrated that this gives a decrease in total decrease basis weight with 3% and increase in filler content with 11%.

The overall objective of the work performed towards manufacturing of uncoated magazine paper or LWC-paper was to demonstrate significant reductions in energy and raw material demand in pilot-scale for the production of LWC-paper. The following technical solutions demonstrated in the future manufacturing concepts for LWC-TMP and LWC-DIP:
• Switching from a single layer base-paper sheet to a stratified sheet, which should allow reduction of the base paper grammage
• A stock preparation process based on fractionation to treat each of them separately for improved efficiency and reduced cost, and preparing the fractions for the stratified headbox
• Curtain coating of the stratified sheet which should allow to reduce the coating layer grammage compared to conventional blade coating
It was demonstrated that paper stratification indeed allows masking the coarse elements of the pulp in the internal layer while improving mechanical and surface properties. This also allows reduction of the grammage of the paper thanks to an increase of its bending stiffness and bulk. Indeed, an increase of 40% of the bending stiffness will allow a grammage reduction of the base paper by 10 %. Additionally, if a smoother surface can be obtained, a lower grammage of coating layer at identical properties could be obtained.

The objective of the work in BoostEff towards fibreboard has been focused on MDF and hardboard. The work aimed at improving fibreboard production, considering both wet and dry processes. It was performed in parallel towards these two products, hardboard and MDF. Research and demonstration was performed in laboratory scale, pilot-scale as well as in mill-scale. Since future manufacturing concepts were designed suitable for each of these products in parallel they were demonstrated separately.

Regarding MDF manufacturing it is a process that is mature and thus optimized, with many improvements performed in the past. Work has been focused on raw material savings and improvement of final product. The following technical solutions were chosen to be included in the future manufacturing concept for MDF:
• Replacing virgin fibres with selected recycled fibres
• Fibre surface modification
• Board surface roughness control
These solutions were demonstrated at pilot or mill scale and showing energy savings, reduction of carbon footprint and process efficiency.

Regarding hardboard the same applies as for MDF and the following technical solutions were chosen to be included in the future manufacturing concept:
• Replacing virgin fibres with selected recycled fibres
• Fibre modification
• Sheet/board stratification
• Board surface roughness control
All these solutions were demonstrated to be compatible one to each other, making it possible a cumulative improvement of process and boards as defined in the FMC. They all proved to be transferred at mill and demonstrated during full mill-scale trials.

For all future manufacturing concepts the results of the work performed clearly shows that energy and raw material demand can be reduced as well as carbon footprint. In addition, significant impact on productivity and/or cost efficiency was demonstrated.

Potential Impact:
Graphic papers, such as SC-paper and LWC-paper, are generally not produced in layered sheets. Moving from single layered to three-layered sheets allows the papermaker to use the coarse fibres in the middle layer to improve bulk and the more refined and flexible fibres in the surface layer to improve the paper surface properties in terms of smoothness and printability. With a potential basis weight reduction of 10%, the long-term potential in energy savings is 12 000 GWh/year considering that all graphic paper in Europe will be produced in layered sheet in the future. The calculation is based on a production of about 40 million tonnes/year in Europe and that the energy consumption at the production of 1 tonne of paper is 3 000 kWh/tonne (an average figure). To these figures should be added the equivalent reduction of energy due to less production of virgin pulp from wood. This reduction amounts to about 11 000 GWh/year.
Fibre board is composed of roundwood (39%) and different by-products of wood industries (chips, sawdust, bark and process wastes) (61%). Stratification of the board product will allow a reduction of volume mass leading to 15% of energy saving while keeping the required properties unchanged. About 50 million cubic metres of fibre board is produced per year in Europe. Calculations with an average energy consumption due to processing of about 126 kWh/m3 give a potential energy saving for the European production of fibre board of about 6 300 MWh/year. Although less than for the paper sector, it is a considerable saving for the construction board sector.
The European pulp and paper industry faces strong competition from those parts of the world (South America and South-East Asia) where trees grow much faster. These countries also introduce latest technologies when building new production facilities. To cope with this, the European pulp and paper industry must become more knowledge-based in all aspects of its operations. One aspect is to be able to implement, faster than others, new radical process technologies. This is directly linked to employment. A successful outcome of BoostEff will support the European paper industry in this respect, improving its competitiveness for the future. This will contribute to safeguarding the 255 000 employees presently working in the sector.

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