Sappi Opens Sugar Extraction Plant at Ngodwana Mill
In 2016 Sapp (South Africa) and Valmet (Finland) agreed on a joint development project to deliver a demonstration plant to Sappi Ngodwana Mill in South Africa to explore and optimize the extraction of biorenewable chemicals. The demonstration plant was officially opened on April 5, 2017. Guests from all over the world participated in the opening ceremony, which included speeches from Sappi and Valmet management representatives.
The event was opened by Alex Thiel, CEO of Sappi Southern Africa, and followed by SW Engelbrecht, GM of Sappi Ngodwana Mill, who gave a mill perspective. Bertel Karlstedt, business line president, Valmet Pulp and Energy, highlighted the good cooperation between Sappi and Valmet, and, finally, Luis Kruyshaar, leader of Sappi Biotech Division, introduced the biotechnology concept.
"The plant continues Sappi's strategic move into the biomaterials and bio-energy business fields to extract more value from the production processes and in response to the global demand for renewable materials with a lower carbon footprint," said Andrea Rossi, group head of Sappi Technology.
"The development of solutions to replace fossil materials with renewable ones and to produce new high-value end products is one of Valmet's research and development focus areas. This project is a concrete example of new opportunities. By working together, we have been able to combine Valmet's leading technology knowledge with Sappi's process and market insight," said Karlstedt.
"New revenue opportunities include possibilities to extract biobased materials from the cooking plant such as hemicellulose sugars and lignin for beneficiation to higher value biochemicals. The products under development will expand Sappi's renewable biomaterials offering, which includes nanocellulose, biocomposites, and lignosulphonate," said Louis Kruyshaar, leader of the new Sappi Biotech Division.
The plant is close to industrial size and makes it possible to study the next generation dissolving cooking process and test new ideas at mill scale.
Opening ceremonies (photo above) of the second generation sugar extraction demonstration plant were conducted by Sappi and Valmet representatives at the Sappi Ngodwana Mill in South Africa.
Sappi is a global producer of dissolving wood pulp and graphics, specialty, and packaging papers. The company uses research and development to drive product innovation and to develop new uses for wood fiber, biomass, and other residues from its production processes. One such area of investigation is in the field of biomaterials (nanocellulose and lignins), biochemicals, and bioenergy forest products materials