New technology makes the paper industry more efficient

A unique study shows energy savings of 25 percent using smart process optimization. Our research group High yield pulping technology is now finalizing the research profile e2mp - energy effiency in mechanical pulping.


In cooperation with the forest companies Holmen, SCA and Stora Enso, the Mid Sweden University has conducted extensive studies in the paper industry to improve technology and save energy in the production of printing paper and cardboard. Important partners in the collaboration were also other research actors such as PFI (Norway), Chalmers, SLU and LTH, as well as the companies Valmet, Andritz and Norske Skog.

"We have shon that we can reduce energy consumption by about 25 percent in full scale testing compared to today's technology in paper mills. The study is of great relevance to Swedish paper production", says Per Engstrand, Professor at Mid University. "The results in the demo scale of the paper industry amount to 30 percent energy reduction for printing paper and 27 percent for paperboard. It also reduces carbon dioxide emissions and reduced climate impact from paper production."

The final goal is that in 2021 show how to manufacture printing paper and paperboard with only half the amount of energy used compared to 2011 when the research collaboration began. The studies carried out so far make it likely that the final target of 50 percent energy reduction will be fully assessed. Alternatively, companies can choose to significantly improve the properties of pulp and products compared with today's paper products. The research has been carried out with the support of the Swedish Energy Agency, the Knowledge Foundation and the Norwegian Research Council.

Smart process optimization

Through increased basic process understanding we can significantly change and improve the manufacturing process. For example, by softening of the wood through increased temperature combined with the addition of small amounts of sulfite and increased intensity in wood refining, the energy efficiency of the refining step can be significantly increased. This allows removal of subsequent process steps, screening and reject refining, making the process both easier and more effective. The modified process concept has been tested in a demo scale at Holmen Paper's paper mill Braviken in Norrköping.

Principle illustration of the demo project at the paper mill

Schedule of normal paper production line in the paper mill:

"It is very interesting that, in a demo scale, we could find that several steps in the paper production process can be removed and still maintain the same paper quality," says Per Engstrand. "The trial shows that newsprint can be manufactured with a total energy consumption of approximately 1,500 kWh / ton, which was 900 kWh / ton lower than the reference, ie. Barely 40 percent lower. All paper properties except tear strength were better for the demo mass compared with the reference paper. The printing properties such as runability, dusting, saturation, imprinting were as good for the demo paper as the reference paper."

The research projects in e2mp have generated many published scientific articles. These are most easily achieved through a visit to the research profile website: On the website you can also read more about the different subprojects. The research has been conducted at the FSCN - Fiber Science and Communication Network research center at Mid University.


Per Engstrand, professor in chemical engineering at Mid Sweden University,
Phone: 010-142 86 49

More Information

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