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Industry calls for breakthrough technologies to be at the heart of the 2030 climate and energy package.
The European pulp and paper industry has searched for, and now found, breakthrough technology concepts which can enable a competitive future in Europe. The example is a fascinating case study from one of Europe’s energy intensive industries.
The European paper industry supplies a quarter of the global market, employs 185,000 people in 520 companies with a turnover of 75 billion per year.
At this year’s European Paper Week gathering in Brussels, the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI), unveiled eight concepts for breakthrough technologies that provide solutions which can enable the future of the industry in Europe. Each solution offers opportunity to create value, reduce costs, improve margins, radically change sector operations and allow massive decarbonisation.
In March 2011 the European Commission set a challenging target of -80% CO2 reductions by 2050. In November 2011 the paper industry launched its own 2050 Roadmap that analysed how to achieve this decarbonisation target while increasing value in the sector by 50%. One year later, the industry followed up by launching the Two Team Project which brought together the teams who have developed the eight concepts announced today.
In this year-long competition, two teams comprising of scientists, companies, suppliers and outsiders worked to identify viable concepts that would help the industry achieve its objectives. Climate Action Commissioner Connie Hedegaard announced the winning team and winning concept from among the eight finalists. She praised the efforts of the sector: “Global markets for resource and energy efficient solutions will grow. CEPI Roadmap 2050 and the ideas prepared in the Two Team Project show that the European pulp and paper industry is 'technology conscious' and ready for the future challenges. It's an example to be followed by other sectors.”
The winning concept is known as “deep eutectic solvents”. It is a brand new technology which, at low temperatures, breaks biomass down into constituent parts which can then be used in the paper and pulp industries. If utilised at scale this technology could radically change pulp and paper production around the world and replace some of the most energy intensive parts of the current process. Deep eutectic solvents have seen remarkable results at the laboratory scale. In the coming months and years, they will need to be further studied and developed.
Commenting on the outcome of the competition, Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, said: “The results are beyond expectations. While we have announced a winner, we are confident that all the shortlisted concepts have an important role to play. We believe the teams have found the key to the largest industrial breakthroughs in decades in our industry. Now policy must be developed to support the development of these technologies.”
Teresa Presas, CEPI Director General, went on to say: “Policymakers once thought targets could be met with existing technology and behavioural change. That is wrong. Breakthrough technologies are needed to meet low carbon targets. Investments in innovation need to focus on breakthroughs, not on incremental growth. CEPI’s Two Team Project perfectly illustrates this”
Little effort is given to developing breakthrough innovations for the manufacturing sectors of tomorrow and industrial and climate policy have left this area untouched.
The Two Team Project went as far as any industry sector can go in organising an open innovation process and providing pre-competitive leads. It is now up to individual companies to take the next step and develop the concepts. This will need new forms of cooperation, and the support of European and national policy makers. The right conditions must be put in place to enable research, pilot, demonstration and investments.
The announcement of the winner will be followed by a seminar on Thursday 28th November in which eight finalists will have an opportunity to present their concepts to European Paper Week attendees.
For more information, please contact Daniela Haiduc at email@example.com, mobile: +32(0)473562936
Download the full Two Team Project report
The eight breakthrough technologies are a combination of new ideas and of ideas that work in other sectors, but have never been utilised for the paper and pulp sector before. They include some cutting edge research findings as well as innovations that have not yet made it to the market. The solutions are not only found in technology, but also in new ways of working and even changes to the way production is measured today. More importantly, they can open up entirely new product portfolios for the future. They are:
Deep Eutectic Solvents – the winner
A ground-breaking discovery: Deep Eutectic Solvents (DES) produced by plants, opens the way to produce pulp at low temperatures and at atmospheric pressure. Using DES, any type of biomass could be dissolved into lignin, cellulose and hemicellulose with minimal energy, emissions and residues. They could also be used to recover cellulose from waste and dissolve ink residues in recovered paper.
Flash condensing with Steam
Waterless paper production? Very nearly. Largely dry fibres would be blasted into a forming zone with agitated steam and condensed into a web using one-thousandth the volume of water used today.
Using more energy to use less? You read it right. Using the full power of pure steam for superheated steam drying would save energy as most heat could be recovered and recycled. Steam will then be used as fibre carrier for making and forming paper.
Neither gas nor liquid but somewhere in between, Supercritical CO2 (scCO2) is widely used in many applications, to dry vegetable, fruits and flowers, extract essential oils or spices. Suppliers for large consumer items use it to dye textile. Coffee and tea have been decaffeinated with scCO2 since the early 80s. We could use it to dry pulp and paper without the need for heat and steam, and why not dye paper or remove contaminants too, while we’re at it?
Shifting pulp and paper production to energy-efficient technologies using electricity rather than fossil fuel power to generate heat will cut all CO2 emissions as the power sector shifts to renewable energy. The sector would also provide a buffer and storage capacity for the grid, storing energy as hydrogen or pulp.
DryPulp for cure-formed paper
Imagine a papermaking process that uses no water. This is it. Fibres are treated to protect them from shear, and then suspended in a viscous solution at up to 40% concentration. The solution is then pressed out and the thin sheet cured with a choice of additives to deliver the end-product required.
The key to unlocking greater added value from fewer resources depends on a shift to producing more lightweight products, and selling surface area and functionality rather than weight. Advances in sheet formation and new cocktails of raw materials will lead the way to the lightweight future.
The Toolbox to replicate
What about the great ideas that never make it? Put together a combination of process, material and equipment innovations as a toolbox of stepping stones to 2050 and the pathway becomes clearer, boosting sector and investor confidence.
Today the High Level Group of the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) for raw materials met to approve its strategic implementation plan. Mr Ramon Alejandro Balet, President of SAICA, represents the paper industry views in this group. In his intervention Mr Balet described several important issues for our industry related to the raw material partnership.
“Mobilising more wood from European forests is very important for the availability of primary fibres for bio-products. Moreover, innovative approaches to implement the cascading use of wood where it adds more value and jobs in Europe are essential.” said Mr Balet at the High Level meeting.
“For the availability of secondary fibres, the landfill ban and incineration ban for recyclable paper are needed. Additionally, collection systems have to improve to ensure glass and paper are collected separately from other recyclables and residual waste.” he continued.
In October the European Commission will call for concrete commitments in non-technological actions for the EIP for raw materials. CEPI will organise a seminar on the EIP for raw materials during European Paper Week on 26 November in Brussels.
The European Commission has proposed the EIP on raw materials to counter the increasing pressure on raw materials, the lifeblood of today's high-tech industry. It also addresses the availability of raw materials for Europe, bringing together EU countries, companies, researchers and NGOs to promote innovative solutions to Europe's raw materials challenge.
More information about the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials: http://ec.europa.eu/enterprise/policies/raw-materials/innovation-partnership/index_en.htm
€3.8 billion EU-industry investment in bio-based industries
Today 48 companies joined forces with the European Commission to set up an unprecedented Public-Private Partnership (PPP) for bio-based industries. The PPP brings together €3.8 billion to advance the bioeconomy in Europe. The European pulp and paper industry is a strategic partner in this PPP, with 13 of the 48 member companies from the sector as well as CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) as an associate member.
The PPP combines €1 billion of public support from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme with €2.8 billion of industry investment. The initiative will create new markets and value chains for bio-based products, bringing jobs and growth to Europe. Today European Commission President José Manuel Barroso launched the Bio-based Industries PPP as part of the European Innovation and Investment Package.
Applauding the European Commission’s initiative, CEPI Director General Teresa Presas said: “CEPI has worked hard to help make the PPP become reality. It is a great initiative. This support for innovation and demonstration is much needed. It keeps investments in Europe and helps realise our industry’s future”.
The PPP will capitalise on Europe’s research leadership to bring solutions to commercial scale via pilot and demonstration projects. It brings different industry sectors together to optimise and create new value chains. Equally, the PPP is set to boost growth and jobs especially in rural areas.
Biorefineries are at the heart of this development. Unlike conventional fossil refineries that use finite fossil sources, biorefineries use various sources of sustainable biomass and waste to produce everyday products. The biorefinery concept is well placed in the pulp and paper industry, which already constitutes a large part of the bioeconomy in terms of volume and value.
The industry’s expertise in forestry, recycling, wood chemistry and fibre processing provides a unique and strategic opportunity in this initiative. The pulp and paper sector’s focus on value creation from raw materials is leading to new products such as bio-chemicals, bio-composite materials and second-generation biofuels.
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For more information, please contact Daniela Haiduc at firstname.lastname@example.org , mobile: +32 473 562 936
Note to the Editor
European Commission ‘Innovation and Investment package’ announcement:
Press release: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-668_en.htm
About the Bio-based Industries PPP (BBI)
The BBI is a new Joint Technology Initiative (JTI) or Public-Private Partnership between the EU and the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC) to realise the bio-based economy vision.
A major public and private effort
• €3.8 billion investments in bio-based innovation from 2014-2020 (Horizon 2020)
o €1 billion of EU funds leveraging €2.8 billion of private investments
• Leverage Europe’s bio-based research and technology
• Develop the under-utilised potential of agriculture and forestry residues
• Replace oil-based chemicals and materials with biodegradable and bio-based ones
• Generate new industries, revitalise others, and create thousands of jobs
• Diversify and grow farmers’ incomes.
About the Biobased Industries Consortium (BIC)
BIC is an association that was established in 2012 to collectively represent the private sector partners in the Public-Private Partnership with the EU. The Consortium started with 40 European member companies (large and small) and is set to grow over time. It also includes associate memberships comprising RTOs, universities and European trade associations. It is host to a unique mix of sectors including agriculture, agro-food, technology providers, forest-based sector, chemicals and energy.
13 pulp and paper producers are member of the BIC: BillerudKorsnäs, Borregaard, ENCE, Holmen, Metsä, Mondi, Norske Skog, SAPPI, SCA, Smurfit Kappa, Södra, Stora Enso and UPM.
About CEPI aisbl - The Confederation of European Paper Industries
The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 520 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 950 paper mills. Together they represent 24% of world production.
- European and German Paper Associations hold meeting at BASF
- Top-class CEPI/VDP conference
- Paper Chemicals operating division showcases innovation marketplace for paper chemistry
BASF, the world’s leading company for innovative chemistry for the paper industry, welcomed “The CEPI Two Team project” to its Ludwigshafen symposium. This is the most important innovation project of the Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI). The project aims at identifying breakthrough innovations that will enable the association’s members to reach the ambitious climate protection targets of the CEPI Roadmap 2050. For this, two teams of experts, scientists, paper manufacturers, suppliers and representatives of the pulp and paper industry compete against each other. A delegate of BASF’s Paper Chemicals operating division participates in one of the teams. The results will be presented to the EU Commissioner for Climate Action in November 2013.
Hosting the meeting in Ludwigshafen, BASF arranged for a separate conference paired with an innovation marketplace to complement the CEPI Two Team project sessions. In the context of the lecture program, members of CEPI and the German Pulp and Paper Association (VDP) presented the guiding idea of a lower carbon circular flow economy based on renewable raw materials. BASF contributes presentations which address sustainability in the chemical industry and innovations in paper chemicals. In the subsequent innovation marketplace of BASF Paper Chemicals, numerous examples were given to demonstrate the innovations the operating division is going to implement to address sustainability already today, tomorrow and in the future.
BASF already offers many sustainable solutions in terms of XELOREX™ – the multifunctional 4-in-1 solution for papermaking – besides cost-efficient binders or the novel production of testliner with anionic sizing agents, quite apart from the biopolymer ecovio® FS Paper. Solutions for tomorrow are focused on the advancement of cost-efficient binders and the introduction of the next generation of cationic polymers contributing toward a further reduction in production costs of paper. Some of the topics aimed at the future will introduce the conference attendants to BASF conceptions relating to new cellulose-based materials and functional barriers.
“Sustainability, in harmony of economic, ecological and social responsibility, is a fundamental principle of all our activities and an important driver in our research & development. In previous years we have invested a lot into this field of work and created new opportunities for paper manufacturers. This is what our innovation marketplace clearly illustrates and, through examples, also lets the visitors experience,“ says Dr. Frank Hoefer, Vice President, Marketing Paper Chemicals Europe, who represents BASF in the Two Team Project. “The Two Team Project will enable the paper industry to take the necessary steps toward a low-CO2 economy. We as BASF take particular pleasure in hosting the last session of the project teams. Before a final decision is taken on a concept this will also be great information for all conference participants what we can contribute today as well as in the future to accomplish the goals of CEPI.“
About BASF’s Paper Chemicals division
BASF’s Paper Chemicals division offers process chemicals to optimize costs and increase machine efficiency, functional chemicals to lend specific properties to paper, and finishing chemicals to improve the appearance and performance characteristics of printed paper and board. With this comprehensive portfolio, BASF is the leading supplier of paper chemicals worldwide. BASF established Paper Chemicals as a separate division when it acquired Ciba in April 2009. The ISO 9001-certified Paper Chemicals division operates sites in Europe, Asia and the Americas. For more information, go to www.paper-chemicals.basf.com
BASF is the world’s leading chemical company: The Chemical Company. Its portfolio ranges from chemicals, plastics, performance products and crop protection products to oil and gas. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. Through science and innovation, we enable our customers in nearly every industry to meet the current and future needs of society. Our products and solutions contribute to conserving resources, ensuring nutrition and improving quality of life. We have summed up this contribution in our corporate purpose: We create chemistry for a sustainable future. BASF had sales of €72.1 billion in 2012 and more than 110,000 employees as of the end of the year. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchanges in Frankfurt (BAS), London (BFA) and Zurich (AN). Further information on BASF is available on the Internet at www.basf.com
When launching the CEPI Two Team Project in November last year, some sceptics were wondering whether the process would really deliver at the end. To them, we dare say today: "Be prepared to be surprised!"
The CEPI Two Team Project uses crowdsourcing and open innovation while putting two teams in competition with each other in order to identify within a year breakthrough technology concepts. Those technologies need to enable the European pulp and paper industry to significantly reduce its carbon emissions, while creating more value. Through the implementation of these technologies the industry would be in a position to implement the CEPI Roadmap 2050 that suggested that the sector would decarbonise by 80% and create 50% more value by 2050. Frits Beurskens (former CEO of SKG), the sponsor and mentor of the blue team, sees the project as “a great stimulus for the European pulp and paper sector to develop breakthrough technologies leading to a strong reduction of CO2 emissions and more added value.”
Inspiring milestones on the way
Since the launch of the project, the teams already had four opportunities to meet and to elaborate generic concepts of breakthrough innovations. In December, the kick-off meeting held in the famous Atomium of Brussels allowed the participants to break the ice, get to know each other and be informed on the "rules of the game", the available tools and materials, as well as the time schedule. The first substantive meeting took place in Lenzing (Austria). The teams had the opportunity to learn about hi-tech textile fibre produced in the mill before having a full day of brainstorming in split rooms.
Heiner Grussenmeyer (Stora Enso), the captain of the blue team, thinks that “the interaction with other industry sectors and visits to their sites are very inspiring for all team members and moves discussions on breakthrough concepts to new dimensions.” In February, Tata Steel opened its IJmuiden plant (Netherlands) to the teams, telling them about the ULCOS project (Ultra Low Carbon Steel) before the teams could separately refine the concept areas they had identified in Austria. A first selection of promising concept areas was made at that occasion. After a visit of the Repsol Innovation Technology Centre in Madrid, the teams came to a more realistic selection of generic concepts that are likely to be in the teams’ final report to be delivered in September.
Comparison, inspiration and metaphors
While not disclosing any content of what the teams have in mind, readers might be interested to know that both teams are exploring and assessing whether technologies and innovations used in other industries might be helpful. In that context, the teams have looked at the textile industry and its methods to create surfaces out of fibre. They are also considering the food industry and its techniques of drying food. Nature can also be a source of inspiration and bio-mimetics might contribute to the final results submitted by the teams. Useful metaphors are often making very abstract and technical ideas easier to understand. Candles, conditioning shampoos, tumble dryers, and others are some of the pictures the teams are using to make processes that might be relevant for their end results more accessible. ”Our team members are bursting with ideas and are highly motivated. This project will be a real achievement!” summarizes Veit Sorger (former CEO of Mondi and Sponsor and mentor of the Red Team).
Two more meetings are planned in May and June this year. Then the team will start preparing their final reports. A pre-jury will meet early October to score the teams' submissions before the jury selects the winning concept in time for the winner to be announced on 27 November 2013 at the European Paper Week. The generic concepts proposed by the teams will help CEPI convince the European Commission to grant some money from the framework programme for research Horizon 2020 to the pulp and paper industry. The research money will help to further develop the ideas, hence contributing to the decarbonisation of the industry.
Call for engagement
While good progress has been made within the teams, there is still room for feeding the process with any disruptive idea or concept. Nearly 20 submissions have been registered on the www.unfoldthefuture.eu website. More than 100 LinkedIn members have joined the CEPI Two Team Group. The Two Team project is also on Twitter and on Facebook. Jerome Grassin (CTP), captain of the Red Team thinks that “it should be seen as essential to contribute or support the Two Team Project by anyone working in the pulp and paper industry.” The next opportunity to meet the teams and get in touch will be the “Unfolding the future” conference in Ludwigshafen (Germany) on 9 June. The program can be found at www.vdp-online.de/pdf/invitation.pdf. Please submit your ideas at www.unfoldthefuture.eu and follow the process.