Development of a new process for pulp production from agricultural residues for the manufacture of sustainable paper products
AgroPaper (development of a new process for the production of pulp from agricultural residues for the manufacture of sustainable paper products) is a 30-month research project, which will be carried out from 01 October 2020 to 31 March 2023 by the Wood Chemistry Department at the Institute of Wood Sciences in cooperation with Steinbeis Papier GmbH from Glückstadt.
Progressive digitalisation and booming online trade have led to an extreme contrast in the production of graphic papers and packaging papers in Germany over the last ten years. While the production of graphic papers has declined sharply, an enormous increase in production of packaging papers has been recorded. This results in the following challenges:
- Will the raw material graphic recovered paper still be available in sufficient quantities, in acceptable quality and at affordable prices in the future?
- Are there alternative, primary raw materials that can be used analogously or with a different production orientation that allows an environmentally compatible production of paper?
Based on these questions, it can be considered a promising approach to include an equally resource-saving alternative to recovered paper as a raw material for paper production in future strategic considerations. A particularly sustainable solution is to produce the pulp directly in the paper mill in the sense of backward integration. In this way, the supply of raw material could be secured in the long term and relatively independent of the fluctuating market price for the fibre raw material. Moreover, production can be tailored to the customer's own requirements profile.
This requires a process with the simplest possible technology, which can be implemented with low investment costs. These requirements cannot be met with wood as raw material. The only realistic alternative is the use of regional agricultural residues, which are currently not in competition with other materials and can be easily processed into fibre. These fibres should be suitable for the production of graphic papers, but also for applications in the packaging sector. The latter in particular could serve to substitute plastic-based packaging and thus make an important contribution to improving the CO2 balance.
2020 - 2023
This project is funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU).