Norske Skog Australasia, a business unit of Norway-headed forest industry major Norske Skog AS, has announced that it has produced the first in-specification 99 percent pure biosolvent "Cyrene" from the FC5 prototype plant at its Norske Skog Boyen newsprint mill in southern Tasmania, Australia. This marks a major milestone for the FC5 project as the entire plant has now been successfully commissioned and operated end-to-end.
According to a statement, 165 kg of this product was produced on January 17, 2019, and packaged and shipped to customers in the United States (US).
Novel FC5 pyrolysis-like process
A partnership with the Circa Group, the pilot plant at Norske Skog’s Boyer newsprint mill in Tasmania involves new technology developed in Australia that converts radiata pine sawdust into the “green” biosolvent called “Cyrene”.
Utilising reactions under pyrolysis conditions, each step in the FC5 process is novel on an industrial scale for this product and has required significant knowledge to be developed in-house by the FC5 team, as well as specialist input and a very methodical approach.
According to Norske Skog, the pyrolysis reactors, primary distillation, and secondary distillation have been operating consistently through much of 2018. Recent breakthroughs have been in the hydrogenation and Cyrene distillation operations where the final, high purity product is produced.
Focus on continuous operations
The focus for the FC5 team will now turn to operate the plant more consistently and producing a steady stream of Cyrene for product testing in US and European markets, whilst improving throughput and quality and further developing knowledge of the process.
The company is targeting global markets for sustainable, safer and more environmentally friendly alternatives to existing solvents which have unacceptable environmental impacts. The production of Cyrene is part of Norske Skog Australasia’s broader strategic “Building Our Future from Fibre and Energy” vision.