Ethanol Production from Paper Industry Sludge Examined
by Ronalds Gonzalez (Ethanol Producer Magazine/North Carolina State University) The concept of converting paper industry sludge to ethanol has been intensively studied in the past decade. Recently, research at North Carolina State University has shown that the process is clearly feasible and profitable under current market conditions.
Paper sludge is a residual material in the pulp and paper manufacturing process composed of short fibers, clays, fillers and other contaminants. These sludges are produced at high volume from both virgin and recycled paper production processes. The fate of paper sludge is mainly limited to disposal in landfills, land application or power generation (the later with low efficiency). Dr. Richard Venditti, along with collaborators and students, has been developing novel conversion processes to convert paper sludge into ethanol with a focus on low capital investment, operational costs and environmental impact. The project is a team effort that involves experts in bioconversion, process economics and financial modeling, and is currently sponsored by the Biofuels Center of North Carolina and the Consortium for Plant Biotechnology.
…The sludge-to-ethanol plant is expected to be sited within a paper mill, and sourcing and buying utilities from the mill (steam, power and water) thus reduces capital expenditure (CAPEX). READ MORE