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Concept: Pulp and paper industry


BACKGROUND: Lignin is one of the three major components in plant cell walls, and it can be isolated (dissolved) from the cell wall in pretreatment or chemical pulping. However, there is a lack of high-value applications for lignin, and the commonest proposal for lignin is power and steam generation through combustion. Organosolv ethanol process is one of the effective pretreatment methods for woody biomass for cellulosic ethanol production, and kraft process is a dominant chemical pulping method in paper industry. In the present research, the lignins from organosolv pretreatment and kraft pulping were evaluated to replace polyol for producing rigid polyurethane foams (RPFs). RESULTS: Petroleum-based polyol was replaced with hardwood ethanol organosolv lignin (HEL) or hardwood kraft lignin (HKL) from 25% to 70% (molar percentage) in preparing rigid polyurethane foam. The prepared foams contained 12-36% (w/w) HEL or 9-28% (w/w) HKL. The density, compressive strength, and cellular structure of the prepared foams were investigated and compared. Chain extenders were used to improve the properties of the RPFs. CONCLUSIONS: It was found that lignin was chemically crosslinked not just physically trapped in the rigid polyurethane foams. The lignin-containing foams had comparable structure and strength up to 25-30% (w/w) HEL or 19-23% (w/w) HKL addition. The results indicated that HEL performed much better in RPFs and could replace more polyol at the same strength than HKL because the former had a better miscibility with the polyol than the latter. Chain extender such as butanediol could improve the strength of lignin-containing RPFs.

Concepts: Cell, Cell wall, Lignin, Cellulose, Polyurethane, Wood, Pulp and paper industry, Kraft process


The feasibility of anaerobic treatment of methanol condensate from pulp and paper mill in UASB reactor was investigated and compared with the anaerobic treatment of methanol. The UASB reactor treating methanol condensate was operated for 480days with minimum problems of overload. COD removal from methanol condensate and methanol under normal operating conditions ranged from 84-86% to 86-98%, respectively. Under optimal conditions (OLR=5.0gCODL(-1)day(-1), COD(influent)=11.40gL(-1)) a methane yield of 0.29 NL CH(4) per g COD(removed) (at standard temperature and pressure) was achieved during the treatment of methanol condensate. The recovery time of the microorganisms after several overloads was decreasing each time probably due to the adaptation to methanol condensate. These findings indicate that methanol condensate can be efficiently treated in a UASB reactor with the benefit of biogas production. As a bonus effect of the treatment, much of the smell of the feed was eliminated.

Concepts: Thermodynamics, Anaerobic digestion, Biogas, Paper, Methane, Standard conditions for temperature and pressure, Pulp and paper industry, Upflow anaerobic sludge blanket digestion


Lignin valorization practices have attracted a great deal of interest in recent years due to the large excess of lignin produced by the pulp and paper industry, together with second-generation bioethanol plants. In this work, a new lignin valorization approach is proposed. It involves ultrafiltration as a fractionation process to separate different molecular weight lignin fractions followed by a hydrogen-free, mild, hydrogenolytic, heterogeneously catalyzed methodology assisted by microwave irradiation to obtain simple phenolic, monomeric products by depolymerization using a nickel-based catalyst. The main products obtained were desaspidinol, syringaldehyde, and syringol; this proves the efficiency of the depolymerization conditions applied. The concentration of these observed compounds increased when the molecular weights of the lignin fractions increased. The applied depolymerization conditions, which take advantage of the use of formic acid as a hydrogen-donating solvent, did not generate any biochar in the systems.

Concepts: Oxygen, Acetic acid, Solvent, Vanillin, Molecular mass, Methanol, Formic acid, Pulp and paper industry


Lignin is the largest reservoir of aromatic compounds on earth and has great potential to be used in many industrial applications. In this review paper, alternative methods to produce lignosulfonates from spent sulfite pulping liquors and kraft lignin from black liquor of kraft pulping process are critically reviewed. Furthermore, options to increase the sulfonate contents of lignin based products are outlined and the industrial attractiveness of them is evaluated. This evaluation will include sulfonation and sulfomethylation of lignin. To increase the sulfomethylation efficiency of lignin, various scenarios including hydrolysis, oxidation, and hydroxymethylation were compared. In the present work, the application of sulfonated lignin based products is assessed and the impact of the properties of sulfonated lignin based products on the characteristics of their end-use application is critically evaluated. It was determined that sulfonated lignin based products have been used as dispersants in cement admixtures and dye solutions more than other applications, and their molecular weight and sulfonation degree were crucial in determining their efficiency. The use of lignin based sulfonated products in composites may benefit the hydrophilicity increase of some composites, but the sulfonated products may need to be desulfonated via alkaline and/or oxygen prior to their use in composites. To be used as a flocculant, sulfonated lignin based products may need to be crosslinked to increase their molecular weight. In this work, the challenges associated with the use of lignin based products in these applications are comprehensively discussed.

Concepts: Lignin, Pulp and paper industry, Papermaking, Bleaching of wood pulp, Kraft process, Sulfite process, Pulp mill, Recovery boiler


Lignin is a heterogeneous aromatic biopolymer that accounts for nearly 30% of the organic carbon on Earth and is one of the few renewable sources of aromatic chemicals. As the most recalcitrant of the three components of lignocellulosic biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin), lignin has been treated as a waste product in the pulp and paper industry, where it is burned to supply energy and recover pulping chemicals in the operation of paper mills. Extraction of higher value from lignin is increasingly recognized as being crucial to the economic viability of integrated biorefineries. Depolymerization is an important starting point for many lignin valorization strategies, because it could generate valuable aromatic chemicals and/or provide a source of low-molecular-mass feedstocks suitable for downstream processing. Commercial precedents show that certain types of lignin (lignosulphonates) may be converted into vanillin and other marketable products, but new technologies are needed to enhance the lignin value chain. The complex, irregular structure of lignin complicates chemical conversion efforts, and known depolymerization methods typically afford ill-defined products in low yields (that is, less than 10-20wt%). Here we describe a method for the depolymerization of oxidized lignin under mild conditions in aqueous formic acid that results in more than 60wt% yield of low-molecular-mass aromatics. We present the discovery of this facile C-O cleavage method, its application to aspen lignin depolymerization, and mechanistic insights into the reaction. The broader implications of these results for lignin conversion and biomass refining are also considered.

Concepts: Chemical reaction, Chemistry, Value, Cellulose, Paper, Ant, Formic acid, Pulp and paper industry


Since the 1980s, the pulp and paper industry in Finland has resulted in the accumulation of fibres in lake sediments. One such site in Lake Näsijärvi contains approximately 1.5 million m3 sedimented fibres. In this study, the methane production potential of the sedimented fibres (on average 13% total solids (TS)) was determined in batch assays. Furthermore, the methane production from solid (on average 20% TS) and liquid fractions of sedimented fibres after solid-liquid separation was studied. The sedimented fibres resulted in fast methane production and high methane yields of 250 ± 80 L CH4/kg volatile solids (VS). The main part (ca. 90%) of the methane potential was obtained from the solid fraction of the sedimented fibres. In addition, the VS removal from the total and solid sedimented fibres was high, 61-65% and 63-78%, respectively. The liquid fraction also contained a large amount of organics (on average 8.8 g COD/L), treatment of which also has to be considered. The estimations of the methane production potentials in the case area showed potential up to 40 million m3 of methane from sedimented fibres.

Concepts: Sediment, Solid, Liquid, Anaerobic digestion, Paper, Pulp and paper industry, Pulp and Paper


In this work, a fundamental understanding of oxygen delignification distracted by dissolved lignin was investigated. In the new biorefinery model of shortening kraft pulping integrated with extended oxygen delignification process, increasing content of residual lignin in the original pulp could result in enhanced delignification efficiency, higher pulp viscosity and less carbonyl groups. However, the invalid oxygen consumption by dissolved lignin could be increased with the increase of process temperature and alkali dosage. The normalized ultraviolet absorbance (divided by absorbance at 280 nm) also showed that the content of chromophoric group in dissolved lignin decreased with oxygen delignification proceeded, both of which indicated that dissolved lignin could enhance the invalid oxygen consumption. Therefore, a conclusion that replacement of the liquor at the initial phase of oxygen delignification process would balance the enhancement of delignification efficiency and invalid oxygen consumption was achieved.

Concepts: Lignin, Gas, Paper, Pulp and paper industry, Papermaking, Bleaching of wood pulp, Kraft process, Sulfite process


Noise exposure is a common occupational hazard, but has not been sufficiently characterized in paper mills. We developed a job-exposure matrix (JEM) for noise exposure for use in estimating exposures among Swedish soft tissue paper mill workers.

Concepts: Developed country, Tissues, Soft tissue, Paper, Pulp and paper industry, Papermaking, Paper mill, Tissue paper


Chlorine bleaching technology (C process, CEH process, H process and theirs combination), which was identified as a primary formation source of PCDD/Fs, is still widely used by the vast majority of Chinese non-wood pulp and paper mills (non-wood PMs). The purpose of this study was to provide information and data support for further eliminating dioxin for non-wood PMs in China, and especially to evaluate the PCDD/Fs release reduction for those mills converting their pulp bleaching processes from CEH to ECF. The PCDD/Fs concentrations of the bleached pulp and bleaching wastewater with ECF bleaching were in the ranges of 0.13-0.8 ng TEQ kg(-1), and 0.15-1.9 pg TEQ L(-1), respectively, which were far lower than those with CEH process, indicating that the ECF process is an effective alternative bleaching technology to replace CEH in Chinese non-wood PMs to reduce dioxin release. The release factor via flue gas of the alkali recovery boiler in Chinese non-wood PMs was first reported to be 0.092 μg TEQ Ad t(-1) in this study. On the assumption that pulp bleaching processes of all Chinese non-wood PMs were converted from CEH to ECF, the annual release of PCDD/Fs via the bleaching wastewater and bleached pulp would be reduced by 79.1%, with a total of 1.60 g TEQ.

Concepts: Electrochemistry, Chlorine, Paper, Chlorine dioxide, Bleach, Pulp and paper industry, Papermaking, Bleaching of wood pulp


This is a review of literature published in 2016 related to the prevention of water pollution by or recovery of beneficial materials from wastewater produced in the pulp and paper industry. This review includes the following sections: pulp and paper wastewater management, pollution avoidance, process modelling, physical and chemical treatment, biological treatment, phytoremediation and value added materials.

Concepts: Water, Water pollution, Value added, Sewage treatment, Literature, Paper, Publishing, Pulp and paper industry