Research for sustainable, environmentally friendly papermaking

Papermaking often requires additives to achieve desired properties, such as the strength of the paper. New research shows that this can be solved in an, as of yet, untested way.

Mozhgan Hashemzehi, PhD student in Chemical Engineering

“Normally, you add Cationic starch to the pulp in order to increase the strength of the paper, says Mozhgan Hashemzehi, PhD student in Chemical Engineering. Usually, the starch is derived from potatoes, corn and wheat, but in our studies we have added chemically modified pulp in order to avoid using sources that can be used for food production instead.”

But does it provide the same properties?

“Yes, our studies show that it works very well and that the strength of the paper increases when we use our new chemically modified pulp as an additive.”

It is very common for the process to be negatively affected by strength additives. The same properties that make the paper stronger also create a more dense paper which makes dewatering more difficult.

“The most ground-breaking result of our studies is that we detected increased strength without significant increased dewatering resistance.”

Increased strength without the process being negatively affected by more difficult dewatering leads to greater profitability for the paper manufacturers as well as a more environmentally friendly production thanks to a more energy-efficient process.

– We also use environmentally friendly chemicals to create the modification and have also tried to reuse the chemicals to generate less environmental impact. We hope that this can lead to the use of new environmentally friendly strength additives that are not derived from sources that can be used for food production instead, says Mozhgan Hashemzehi.