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Paper and Pulp Manufacturers Urgently Need to Consider Emissions Controls

The origin of the EU’s best-available-technique (BAT) guidelines for pulp and paper installations go back over 10 years, but it is only recently that they have surfaced again for most mill operators, who now need to urgently consider emissions controls to improve anti-pollution measures.

The guidelines form a reference for regulators to set permit conditions under the Industrial Emissions Directive and all regulated industries, including the pulp and paper sector, are expected to achieve compliance with BAT and their Associated Emission Levels (AEL) rules within strict timeframes. Permits for all installations will require updating by early 2018.

In particular, the BAT guidelines will have much tighter limits on pollutant levels and will cover by way of example, wastewater that is discharged into rivers. Current EU pulp production mostly uses the kraft process, and under the guidelines, the acceptable level of pollutants for the chemical oxygen demand of waste water per tonne of dry pulp has been halved. As such, the industry will need a mixture of end-of-pipe measures, better technology and improved management, if it is to meet the new rules.

The pulp and paper sector is a significant energy user and currently ranks fourth in the industrial sector for its energy use, according to the Industrial Efficiency Technology Database, consuming by some estimates up to 6% of global industrial energy use. Filtering and the removal of contaminants from the wastewater is known to be very energy demanding, with mechanical surface aeration and sub-surface jet aeration systems for biological treatment demanding high volumes of electricity. Consequently, the search is on for energy efficient wastewater treatment technologies which can now deliver against the specific challenges of pulp and paper manufacturing.

One such technology company which is well placed to deliver against this need is  Mapal Green Energy, with its innovative Floating  Fine Bubble Aeration technology (FFBA), currently used by Anglian Water, Thames Water and United Utilities in the UK. The same technology has also been deployed successfully in South Africa in the pulp and paper sector and again in factory farming installations in Israel, where the challenges of treating aggressive and hazardous liquids echo many of the issues faced in the pulp and paper industry.

A revolutionary solution, floating fine bubble aeration approaches the challenge of wastewater oxygenation by marrying the strengths of mechanical surface aeration technology – easy to install and accessible for maintenance – with the efficiency which is derived from sub surface fine bubble aeration systems. With no moving parts generating friction and driving high energy consumption, a key benefit for users of Mapal Green Energy’s floating fine bubble aeration system is its dramatically reduced energy bill. Tests around the world have shown that in some cases, compared to mechanical surface aeration, a plant’s energy consumption can be reduced by significant amounts. In the UK, Anglian Water reported a 22% drop in energy consumption using Mapal’s system, as compared to its previous mechanical aeration technology.

Mapal GE CEO Zeev Fisher comments, “We have a well proven technology in use at over 40 sites around the world, including in the pulp and paper sector and by leading Utility companies in the UK, where  regulatory pressure has long been a feature of the industry. The technology is perfectly suited to the new challenges laid down in the latest EU BAT-AEL rules and our in house teams can advise on all aspects of systems design and installation.”

Process Industry Informer

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