Fundamental studies of drying, combustion and ash properties of biomass and impacts of pulp and paper mill operations

Funding Details
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Grant type: Collaborative Research and Development Grants
  • Years: 2012/13 to 2015/16
  • Total Funding: $1,876,000
Principle Investigator(s)

Project Summary

Pulp and paper mills in Canada require large amounts of high pressure steam and electric power to operate. About two-thirds of the energy required is supplied by burning the concentrated black liquor (spent pulping liquor) in recovery boilers. The remaining is from biomass boilers, known conventionally as hog-fuel boilers, and from local utility stations. Biomass boilers provide pulp and paper mills with a means of addressing high energy and waste disposal costs. In order to remain competitive on the global market and to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations, mills need to optimize operations to maximize the energy production of their biomass boilers, while minimizing the environmental impact associated with combustion. This 4-year collaborative research and development program is aimed at obtaining fundamental data on drying, combustion and ash properties of biomass mixtures and to use the information to develop viable control strategies and new technologies to improve biomass boiler and mill operations. The research will be conducted at the University of Toronto starting April 1, 2012 through support from NSERC and ten Canadian pulp and paper related companies. The proposed research program consists of five main tasks and each involves multiple projects. It will be led by Professor Honghi Tran and nine other professors from the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario. Selected projects will also be conducted in collaboration with other universities and industrial research institutions. The research program will train 26 graduate students, 4 postdoctoral fellows and 22 undergraduate students in Canada. Successful completion of the program will lead to the development of intellectual property and new technologies that can be commercialized, and will provide pulp and paper mills with tools and guidelines for optimizing boiler and mill operations and minimizing environmental impacts.