Production of dissolving grade pulp and by-products

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University of New Brunswick


AV Nackawic and the Aditya Birla group are becoming industry leaders in the growing bio-refining sector of the Canadian pulp and paper industry. The AV group acquired the Nackawic mill in 2005, and in 2008 converted the mill to produce dissolving grade pulp (DGP) utilizing one of the most advanced cooking technologies in the world. In recent years there has been an increased interest for research in utilizing bio-mass refining technologies at the mill. Many innovative concepts have been proposed that will continue to improve overall production. AV Nackawic has requested a process optimization design for their current dissolving grade pulp production, while aiming to collect valuable sellable by-products which are currently burned for electricity generation. A proposal utilizing separation technologies, enzymes, and cold caustic extraction maximizes the production of DGP and introduces a new hemicellulose based product stream. The design produces concentrated hemicelluloses which are refined into xylitol through a process previously studied by the mill. The addition of fractionation pre-bleaching removes fine particles from the system allowing for an increase in fibers being treated into DGP. The fines removed during fractionation are collected and sold. The modification will generate an annual profit of approximately $31 million for a total capital investment of $76 million, which includes refining hemicellulose to xylitol. The economic analysis shows a return on investment of 40%, and an approximate payback period of 2.5 years.