March 26, 2021

Bio Refining : Reducing Energy Consumption in Pulp and Paper Making

A large specialty paper maker reduced mechanical and electrical energy consumption during refining operations 

High amounts of electrical and mechanical energy are required for fiber modification in a typical fine paper and specialty paper-making operation. Fiber modification is done through refining operation i.e., mechanical treatment of fibers to develop certain desired paper properties. Reduction in the mechanical and electrical energy requirements in the process is critical to the sustainability of operations.


Usage of the mill produced hardwood pulp as well as imported hardwood and softwood Kraft pulp is a popular trend across the paper-making industry. The economics and sustainable nature of fiber modification are very compelling for many papermakers. With the use of softwood pulp also comes the challenge of fiber modification in specialty paper-making. 

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HABER’s bio-refining program is helping a large specialty papermaker with reduced mechanical and electrical energy requirements during refining operation to meet their target pulp and paper property requirement. Prior to implementing the solution, with variations in furnish quality, the plant experienced a high requirement of mechanical energy in the refining operation to meet the quality requirement. With imported pulp usage, which is once-dried fiber, irreversible fiber bonding within the fiber wall has occurred that resists fiber re-swelling and requires more energy to achieve desired paper properties. A significant cost of electrical energy and less available time for fiber modification were some of the other constraints.

Sustainable operations are critical to all industries today. In this extremely competitive environment, efficient operations are also very critical. The customer was interested in a solution that was both cost-effective and reduce their energy requirement for fiber modification significantly with no disruption to its continuous operations. This meant a solution that will deliver more constant results irrespective of the variability of input. The customer wanted to continue to use a variety of furnish based on economics and market conditions. 


HABER’s bio-refining program was best suited to the situation. A specially formulated enzyme was added in the pulping stage keeping the program's best practices in mind. HABER enzymatic treatment improved the Schopper-Riegler index and reduced pulping time requirement while decreasing refining energy requirements. Continuous online monitoring and control ensured any variations and stresses were addressed in real-time.

The solution has resulted in worry-free operations of the pulping and refining operations with no adverse impact on downstream operations and final sheet properties. Variation in furnish no longer results in variation in pulp and paper properties.

Understanding the complex process needs in the paper industry through a mechanical, operational, and chemical approach is critical in solution development. HABER’s bio-refining solution is not only suited for specialty paper and fine paper-making but also for the writing & printing and board industry. HABER’s solution requires little to no customization resulting in quicker implementation and value delivery.

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