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Resource-efficient sulphur-free production of cellulose pulp

The NovaCell process is a new resource and an eco-efficient, sulphur-free concept for the manufacturing of chemical pulp. The proposed European project will develop a solid techno-economical platform for the implementation of the NovaCell process into the European chemical pulp industry. Recent discoveries in pulping catalysis and oxygen delignification form the scientific and technological basis for the project. The elimination of sulphur creates a new odourless image for the industry, a simplified effluent recycle and by-product valorisation. The NovaCell process uses conventional machinery, which will greatly facilitate the introduction of the process into existing pulp mills. A strong consortium will ensure that the project objectives will be met for the benefit of the European pulp and paper industry, fibre consumers and European citizens.

The specific objectives of the proposed project are:
1) to optimise the process stages in the NovaCell fibreline (i.e. wood pre-treatment, alkaline cooking, extended oxygen delignification and final bleaching) targeting further improvement in delignification selectivity, overall yield and papermaking properties
2) to evaluate the potential of the NovaCell fibres in different end products
3) to develop and evaluate different configurations for the recovery of chemicals and energy in a sulphur-free environment
4) to make a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the environmental aspects of NovaCell pulping
5) to develop relevant process models for computer simulation of NovaCell fibreline and recovery systems
6) to develop techno-economical data and strategies for the implementation of the NovaCell process in European kraft and sulphite mills.

The investment cost for a new softwood NovaCell mill is in the same range as the investment cost for a new kraft mill. Savings for the NovaCell process are connected to less or no sulphur chemicals management, simpler odorous gases handling and less costly materials of construction. The operating cost for the NovaCell softwood process is slightly higher due to the increased evaporation load, originating in the mild prehydrolysis stage of the NovaCell process. The NovaCell hardwood process does not use a lime kiln or conventional causticising. Investment cost for recovery machinery for the NovaCell hardwood process is thus considerably lower than for a kraft alternative.
The increased cost for handling higher inorganic solids flow in the liquor cycle and energy use for raising additional steam for autocausticising, however, balances the cost advantages in other mill departments of the NovaCell hardwood process. The additional steam use for handling the higher inorganic flow in the NovaCell process is an operating cost negative. The investment cost is in the same range for the NovaCell hardwood and kraft hardwood process. A major advantage of the NovaCell process compared to many other sulphur-free pulping options is that it can be introduced using existing equipment in a kraft or sulphite mill, and that this introduction can be done step-by-step, e.g. by lowering sulphidity. This reduces technical and economic risks considerably.


Scientist responsible for the project

Major Project Manager PER TOMANI
Drotting Kristinas vaeg 61 Box 5604
114 86 Stockholm
Sweden - SE

Phone: +46 86767281
Fax: +46 84115518


Project ID QLRT-2001-01482
Area 5.3.2
Start date 01 September 2002
Duration (months) 36
Total cost 5 050 338 €
Total EC contribution   2 625 851 €
Status Ongoing
Web address of the project

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