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SUNPAP, Scale-Up Nano Particles in Modern Papermaking

Ulla Forsström, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland ulla.forsstrom@vtt.fi

Traditional paper and board products are based on sustainable production. They are made mainly from renewable materials and can be recycled several times before finally being used for energy production. In today’s high-quality products, however, oil-based additives and, in particular, binders in surface treatments are very commonly used. The general aim of the forest cluster is to direct the research at even more sustainable use of materials and production technologies. Scale-Up Nano Particles in Modern Papermaking (SUNPAP) is a new large-scale integrating project in the European Community’s 7th Framework Programme under the NMP programme. The three-year project started on 1 July 2009. It is co-ordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), Finland.

The project focuses on scaling up the production of nano fibril cellulose. The project covers four research topics: sustainability evaluation of the whole value chain, scaling up production of native and functionalized nano fibril celluloses (NFCs), industrial product applications for different end uses and health and safety issues in nano fibril cellulose production, application and end products. The different research topics have a strong synergy and they are well integrated with each other.

The sustainability part deals with the whole value chain including market needs, sustainability assessments, and recyclability and biodegradability studies. The data collection is a critical part of the success, as it will feed data to the sustainability analysis conducted in the project. The sustainability analysis includes environmental, economic and social aspects.

The first aim of the research work into cellulose-based nano material production is to identify optimal pulp raw material and pre-treatment conditions for energy- efficient NFC preparation. The experimental trials with different chemical, enzymatic and mechanical pre-treatment processes are ongoing. The main target of the project is to scale up the technologies to produce natural or functionalized nano fibril cellulose. The quality of nano fibril cellulose is aimed at different current and novel industrial paper and board products. NFC can be produced on a laboratory scale using a high-pressure homogenizer at 150 to 200 MPa. This process is not suitable on a pilot scale, however, due to the low throughput and energy efficiency. PTS studies new processes, in co-operation with various research and industrial partners, in order to be able to demonstrate energy-efficient production on a pilot scale.

The paper and board applications in five different end-use areas will be studied using native or modified NFC in order to increase the strength of or give new

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