Projects

Provides

  • Status
    Completed
  • Start date
    January 7, 2015
  • Runtime
    36 months
  • Contact
    Agata van Oosten

The Provides initiative aims to make the paper industry more sustainable by developing Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) that can be used in a radically new, sustainable and techno-economically feasible pulping technology for wood and agro-based lignocellulose raw materials.

Breakthroughs that revolutionise an industry do not happen overnight and cannot be realized within a year. We have had disappointments and surprises, but overall we are happy to report that we have gained interesting insights into opportunities that will enable us to make the delignification process of wood even more efficient and sustainable.
These good results are the outcome of a big effort and hard work on the part of the many partners in the PROVIDES project. The project has united the sector behind the idea that breakthroughs are necessary and can only be realized by a continuous and joint approach.

Provides aims to establish 40% energy savings and 80% CO2 emmission reductions in the paper industry.

Innovative technologies are key to prepare the paper industry to be circular and carbon-neutral by 2050. With Unfold the future, CEPI (the European association representing the paper industry) provided a roadmap to a low-carbon bio-economy.

However, this roadmap underlined the missing link of breakthrough technologies in the paper industry. To address this issue, CEPI launched the Two Team Project that had to generate and develop new ideas. The concept of DESs won the competition in November 2013 which resulted in the opportunity to be successfully worked out into the Provides initiative.

The technological breakthrough through the development of DES pulping technology can reduce process energy intensity by at least 40% and investment costs by 50% compared to traditional chemical pulping technology.

Objective

The main objective of the Provides project was to develop a radically new, sustainable and techno-economically feasible pulping technology for wood and agro-based lignocellulose raw materials based on deep eutectic solvents (DES).

DESs are a new class of natural solvents which have the unique ability to dissolve and thus mildly fractionate lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose at low temperature and atmospheric pressure for further processing into high added value materials and chemicals. In parallel, the development of efficient novel cellulose-dissolving DES and other DESs to process lignocellulose materials, starting with paper for recycling, is aimed at with a focus on sustainability in selecting DES chemical components and technical and economic applicability of the solvent system.

Approach

Provides creates both fundamental and industry driven technological knowledge based on lab to bench/pilot scale experimentation, through:

  • Mapping and selection of the most effective DES families.
  • Investigating processes and process technology options – including DES regeneration and recycling – in order to define full industrial processes that could isolate high quality cellulose/fibres, lignin and hemicelluloses.
  • Providing products for industrial evaluation.
  • Establishing technical data to evaluate industrial feasibility and integration.
  • Performing life-cycle oriented assessment of environmental and socio-economic performance.
  • Assessing impacts in terms of energy and cost reductions as well as new high added value applications Provides could provide to the pulp and paper industry sector.

What are Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs)?

DESs are a new class of natural solvents which have the unique ability to dissolve and thus mildly fractionate lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose at low temperature and atmospheric pressure for further processing into high added value materials and chemicals. This helps the European Pulp and Paper industry to achieve the low-carbon bio-economy.

Reduction of CO2 emmissions

Energy savings in the pulp and paper sector are estimated to be about 40%, representing huge potential annual savings of more than 160,000 GWh in Europe. The corresponding potential CO2 emission savings are estimated to be about 10%, which represents a reduction of more than 4 Mt of CO2 emissions at European level. In a broader perspective, beyond the boundaries of the current pulp and paper industry sector, the implementation of the new DES pulping processes in a biorefinery concept will produce both pulp and bio-based chemicals. When the pure lignin isolated in the DES pulping process is used to replace aromatics in the chemical industry (instead of used fir heat or electricity), much higher energy savings and CO2 emission reductions will be achieved. Taking into account the simultaneous production of an equal tonnage of chemicals, the total energy use and CO2 emissions of the combined system can be 90% lower than with the separate systems of pulp and fossil chemicals production.

Partners

The Provides project consistsed of 27 participants, of which 21 large industries active in the pulp and paper industry, 3 universities, and 2 research institutes.

Resources

Grant provider

Sustainable development goals

This project contributes to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Project partners

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