e2cmp - Eco-friendly efficient chemimechanical system for sustainable packaging materials
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e2cmp - Eco-friendly efficient chemimechanical system for sustainable packaging materials

The aim is to improve the competitive advantage of pulp fibre based materials over fossil based materials. This contributes to the long-term goal of new and environmentally friendly packaging material.


The basic idea is to maximally benefit from the natural stiffness on wood fibres and achieve the required strength properties by engineering the surface properties of fibre since high bulk is the crucial factor that controls the rigidity of the packaging.

The Knowledge Foundation is funding research over five years with a total of 12 million sek in the research synergy e2cmp - Eco-friendly efficient chemimechanical system for sustainable packaging materials. The University has an internationally strong position in process engineering research on mechanical pulp. The research project consists of four sub-projects.

These projects contribute to the long term goals for the development of new, environmentally friendly and sustainable packaging materials and our goal is to replace plastic with fibre-based materials. We will cooperate with the university of Trois Rivieres Quebec and British Columbia in Canada and Tennessee in the United States.

BillerudKorsnäs, Valmet and PulpEye are partner companies in the research projects. Together, they contribute with equal financial resources as Knowledge Foundation for the research projects.

"Within BillerudKorsnäs we have a high level ambition in developing and improving our paperboard products and production processes," says Henrik Edlund, project manager R & D BillerudKorsnäs. "In order to improve and achieve desired pulp properties of the fibre in the cardboard middle layer, we consider it necessary to increase the knowledge and the fundamental understanding of fibre processing in the CTMP process. Such R & D work with strong research character and a need for expertise in several areas is advantageously carried out in cooperation with suppliers of hardware and measuring equipment in the industry with higher education institutions. The skills and experience FSCN has in research on mechanical pulp production has been crucial for BillerudKorsnäs in the choice of partner. We have great expectations of this joint research projects and enter into cooperation with the hope that the results will contribute to our efforts to develop and produce sustainable packaging."

The core question is whether it will be possible to produce a more sustainable forest fibre based packaging material with improved functional properties such as high bulk, stiffness and strength when reducing the total material usage and energy costs. To answer this question we need the following sub-projects:

Sub-project 1: Preserved fibre morphology by fibre softening and chip refining intensity optimization

The goal is to develop chemimechanical chip-pretreatment and chip-refining technology to preserve the original fibre morphological structure while simultaneously seeing to that fibres are separated in such a way that the shives content become as low as possible. The focus is on how to fully utilize the potential of sulphonation chemistry to ensure a suitable wood fibre softening and fibre wall swelling in the chip-refining unit process. Fundamental refining theory knowledge will also be used to better understand how to influence intensity and temperature profiles in the refiner to achieve a pulp with extremely well preserved wood fibres and with minimum amount of shives.

Project leader: Dr Erik Persson 


Sub-project 2: Maximized fibre separation and increased fibre surface at preserved bulk by optimized low consistency refining

The goal is to understand how to optimize the chemimechanical pulp fibre properties by means of low consistency refining so that all fibres are perfectly separated. The fibre surfaces also have to be treated to enhance adhesion by means of surface fibrillation. Since the first defibration/refining stage to a large extent determines the character of the pulp fibres it is important to co-optimize the chip-refining unit process with the low consistency refining in such a way that the fibre bulk is preserved.

Project leader – Dr Jan-Erik Berg

Sub-project 3: Improved fibre adhesion of bulky CTMP fibres by means of metal-free catalysis

The goal is to understand how to compensate the smaller fibre-to-fibre contact area by increased adhesion in each fibre joint. Possibilities to attach cationic and anionic functional groups to CTMP-fibre surfaces containing a combinations of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin will be investigated. The strategy to achieve this goal is to use a new organo-catalytic technology by adding natural cross-linking molecules such as carboxymethylcellulose and oxidized cationic starch to the fibre surfaces.

Project leader: Professor Armando Cordova

Sub-project 4: Synergetic process technology modelling and mill scale validation

The goal is to create an industrially implementable process design combining the three above-mentioned techniques. We will in this work combine traditional methodology from process design modelling in chemical engineering, using unit operations model blocks with a process intensification research approach.

Project leader: Professor Per Engstrand