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PaperClips: Out of this world rotors


February 1, 2009
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Engineers at the University of British Columbia, in partnership with government and Advanced Fibre Technologies Inc. of Montreal, Que., have developed three high efficiency pulp screen rotors that not…

Engineers at the University of British Columbia, in partnership with government and Advanced Fibre Technologies Inc. of Montreal, Que., have developed three high efficiency pulp screen rotors that not only reduce the energy required in the pulp screening process, but could potentially save Canada’s pulp and paper industry $20 million a year if applied nation-wide.

According to a Dec. 4 UBC Reports article, the approximately 300 pulp screens in British Columbia’s 20 pulp and paper mills consume 300 gigawatt hours annually, equal to about $16 million. These new uniquely shaped and hydrodynamic rotors – which, according to the article, were inspired by aerospace technology – reduce drag, operate at lower speeds, and use less energy. Trial results showed energy consumption was reduced by 52%.

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If all mills in B. C. would convert to this new rotor technology, they could save about $8 million annually, UBC mechanical engineering associate professor James Olson was quoted as saying. Consequently, if mills across Canada adopted the new technology, an estimated $20 million a year could be saved.

The article stated that while the savings could make Canada’s pulp and paper industry more competitive in the world market, reduced energy use could also lead to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The new rotors could also give the country’s pulp equipment manufacturing sector a boost, the article suggested.

With the success of the new technology in trials, the team behind the new rotors has won a number of awards: the 2007 BC Hydro New Technology of the Year Award and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Synergy Award for Partnership and Innovation, and the 2008 British Columbia Innovation Council’s Lieutenant Governor’s Award. Source: UBC Reports, Dec. 4, 2008


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