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Sappi's demo plant for second generation sugar extraction officially opened

Sappi and Valmet have officially opened the dissolving pulp cooking demonstration plant at Sappi's Ngodwana Mill in South Africa.

The opening ceremonies of the second generation sugar extraction demonstration plant were conducted by Sappi and Valmet representatives at the Sappi Ngodwana Mill in South Africa (photo courtesy Valmet).

The opening ceremonies of the second generation sugar extraction demonstration plant were conducted by Sappi and Valmet representatives at the Sappi Ngodwana Mill in South Africa (photo courtesy Valmet).

South Africa-headed pulp and paper major Sappi and Finland-headed energy and forest industry technology major Valmet have officially opened the dissolving pulp cooking demonstration plant at Sappi’s Ngodwana Mill in South Africa. The demonstration plant was officially opened on April 5 with an opening ceremony that included speeches from Sappi and Valmet management representatives.

– The plant continues Sappi’s strategic move into the biomaterials and bioenergy 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, commented Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology from Sappi in his address.

In 2016 Sappi and Valmet agreed on a joint development project to deliver a demonstration plant to the mill in order to explore and optimize the extraction of renewable biochemicals.

– 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 Bertel Karlstedt, Business Line President, Pulp and Energy from Valmet.

The plant is close to industrial size and makes it possible to study the next generation dissolving cooking process and test new ideas in mill scale.

– 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 include nanocellulose, biocomposites and lignosulphonate, said Louis Kruyshaar, leader of the new Sappi Biotech division.

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