Deep Eutectic Solvents to drive energy efficiency in the paper industry

Only one year ago that CEPI announced the winning concept of its Two Team Project competition in 2013, aiming to find new breakthrough technologies. The winning concept, Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs), is now successfully being worked out further in a Europe-wide project coordinated by the Netherlands-based Institute for Sustainable Process Technology (ISPT). The project brings together 20 European paper companies and researchers from Eindhoven University of Technology (Netherlands). The first results look very promising.

‘Green’ pulping solvents

The first researcher to discover that Deep Eutectic Solvents could offer an interesting ‘green’ alternative to chemical solvents in the paper industry was Professor Maaike Kroon of Eindhoven University of Technology. DESs are nature-based, renewable, biodegradable, low-volatile, cost-effective and extremely energy efficient, particularly because their processes do not require high temperatures.

As part of the ISPT project, Professor Kroon is currently supervising two PhD students, who are carrying out their research in close collaboration with the industrial partners from the pulp and paper industry. Dannie van Osch focuses on the use of DESs for the recycling of paper, testing the removal of contaminants and the dissolution of cellulose from the pulp. “It’s a fantastic project, and the fact that paper companies assist us really shows their appreciation of and confidence in our work,” says Dannie. “I trust that in four years’ time deep eutectic solvents can truly make the paper industry much more energy efficient.” Laura Kollau’s research focuses on biomass fractionation with the use of DESs to innovate the pulping process. “It would be amazing if we can replace the high temperature and pressure process that is currently used with a mild and efficient process,” says Laura. “We may even be able to realize a completely water-free process!”

Heiner Grussenmeyer from Stora Enso in Germany represents the participating paper companies in the project. They support the project both financially and by making their facilities available for testing. “We’re looking forward to finding a totally new technology for producing chemical pulp,” says Heiner. “There’s a real need for a process that uses much less energy, is more flexible in terms of feedstock, and requires less investment. The DESs process we’re working on has great potential to fulfill all these dreams.”

The consortium is still open for more participants from the pulp and paper industry. If you are interested in joining, please contact Bernard de Galembert of CEPI (b.degalembert@cepi.org) or Agata van Oosten, project coordinator at ISPT (agata.vanoosten@ispt.eu).

Cluster Director Annita Westenbroek a.westenbroek@providespaper.eu

Cluster Director
Annita Westenbroek
a.westenbroek@providespaper.eu 

PROVIDES

PROcesses for Value added fibres by Innovative Deep Eutectic Solvents

Provides is a research and innovation project (RIA) aiming to develop Deep Eutectic Solvents (DESs) to be used in a radically new, sustainable and techno-economically feasible pulping technology for wood and agro-based lignocellulose raw materials. 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.

The PROVIDES consortium consists of 21 paper and pulp companies, six universities and research institutes and ISPT as project coordinator.

For more information visit the PROVIDES-website or contact us. PROVIDES project is one of the ISPT activities centred around the Deep Eutetic Solvents cluster.

This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 668970