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Slowing down to save at Northwood Pulp


October 1, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

PRINCE GEORGE, BC — In an effort to curb ever-increasing energy costs, Northwood Pulp in Prince George has enlisted the help of B.C. Hydro — to significant success.

PRINCE GEORGE, BC — In an effort to curb ever-increasing energy costs, Northwood Pulp in Prince George has enlisted the help of B.C. Hydro — to significant success.

A technology being tested at the facility has proven to slash electricity usage of its pulp screen by more than 50%, the Prince George Citizen has reported.

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A financial and technical boost from B.C. Hydro has positioned the facility as the first kraft mill in the country to use the energy-efficient technology.

The high performance rotor technology is manufactured by Advanced Fibre Technologies, who worked very closely with the University of British Columbia throughout the process.

“The rotor in a pulp screen is an item which takes a lot of power,” explained Angelo Di Girolamo, manager of product design of AFT. “We were able to design one that consumes very low energy, by reducing the rotor’s speed. If you reduce the speed, you use less power. Northwood Pulp has been able to reduce their speed without sacrificing efficiency or productivity,” he confirmed.

Although Northwood is the first kraft mill in Canada to employ the technology, the method has been tested and officially implemented at numerous pulp mills, to tremendous advantage. “We have been selling these to many other mills,” Di Girolamo said, “we sell about 200 units to pulp mills every year.” As for why kraft mills have been slower to adopt the energy-saving technology, Di Girolamo was not certain, but as he said, “there will be more in the future.”

The Prince George Citizen further reported an estimate provided by B.C. Hyrdro, that if all 300 pulp screen rotors used in the province’s 20 pulp and paper mills converted to the new technology, a total of 153 gigawatts of electricity could be saved each and every year. The number translates to more than $8 million in savings. With a price tag of between $8,000-$89,000 U.S., “depending on the size of the screen,” that’s quite a bargain.


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