Research & Innovation
European mills embracing new technology
One European speaker at the PacWest conference had words of caution regarding Canada’s global position within the pulp and paper industry. Mats Nordgren, a specialist with Valmet, described how the industry in Europe is rebuilding and upgrading technology in the mills. He hopes Canadian companies will invest and keep up.
By Cindy Macdonald
A few years ago there was probably only five to 10 optimization or expansion projects under discussion each year, said Nordgren. Now, in 2016, more than 30 projects are in the final stages of discussion.
Nordgren looked in detail at three current projects: Södra Cell’s Värö and SCA’s Östrand mills in Sweden, and the new mill being built by Metsä Fibre at Äänekoski in Finland. The Swedish mills are employing a mix of rebuilt and new equipment, while Aanekoski is entirely new construction.
The Valmet specialist makes the case that all three parent companies were seeking low effluent volumes, high levels of energy efficiency, effective material use (high pulping yield), and no reliance on fossil fuels.
All three companies have chosen to install new cooking plants. Nordgren says the new cooking plants have to potential to improve yield by 3 per cent compared with older technology, and could reduce steam consumption by as much as 30 per cent.
When the upgrades are complete, the Varo and Ostrand mills will have steam consumption of about 5 tonnes per tonne of pulp. Effluent volumes will be less than 10 m3 per tonne of pulp. Energy consumption at Varo is expected to be about 600 kWh per tonne. None of the three mills will be dependent on a power boiler, Nordgren noted.
He also cited an internal study performed by Valmet which showed that most pulp-producing regions were recording a decrease in bleach plant effluent volumes as a result of investment newer and upgraded mills. That decrease is not evident in North America.