POC 04: WasteWood2Paper: UK based, fully circular and low-cost paper packaging based on waste wood derived cellulose produced in a novel lignocellulose fractionation process
- Project lead
- Jason Hallett
- Imperial College London
Currently, UK packaging producers use imported, virgin cellulose pulp for manufacturing their paper-based packaging materials and solutions. Meanwhile, industrial waste wood, such as wood pallets, wood chips and wooden off-cuts from the construction industry, is disposed of at a substantial cost due to the presence of metal preservatives and other contaminants.
We will use our patented, zero waste process developed at Imperial College London for the conversion of biomass in the conversion of construction waste wood to produce purified cellulose for paper packaging applications. The purified cellulose will be used to produce paper and also converted into microfibrillated cellulose, used to optimise paper properties. Paper sheet prototypes will be produced and commercially evaluated, and the effects of changes in the cellulose production stages in the paper properties will be evaluated.
Non treated Waste Wood (original species pine) from a construction site (roof trusses) was converted into a cellulose-rich pulp using a non-polluting process that employs cheap protic ionic liquids as pretreatment media. The pulps obtained were bleached using a chlorine-free method based on hydrogen peroxide. Analysis of the pulp properties, both before and after bleaching, was used to optimize pretreatment and bleaching conditions to ensure the highest possible pulp quality. Effects of initial particle size and bleaching conditions on pulp fibre length were examined and optimised. Bleaching was successful on several species and after optimization, a larger batch of bleached pulp (130 gr) was produced and used for fibrillation.
The project has been successful as a proof of the feasibility of producing paper packaging from construction waste wood. However, it has highlighted some shortcomings in the current conditions for pretreatment optimisation for pulp quality and bleachability. Further research is needed to optimize these areas.
We have created a process to take unwanted and unvalorised waste wood and convert it into cellulose pulp that can be bleached and converted to microfibrillated cellulose (MFC). We used these MFCs to strengthen handsheets made from recycled paper fibres, extending the fibre lifetime.
Academic partners: Agnieszka Brandt-Talbot, Imperial College London
Industrial partners: Jon Phipps, Fiberlean; Paul Edmondson, James Cropper; Krisztina Kovacs-Schreiner, Lixea Limited