Banner for LabNotes
From Lab Notes
Contact Information
Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592


You are here: FPL Home  / Information Products & Services  / Publications

Requested Product

Title: Catalysis: A Potential Alternative to Kraft Pulping

Source: TAPPI JOURNAL, Volume 13, Number 10, OCTOBER 2014; pp. 13-20.

Author(s)Rudie, Alan W.; Hart, Peter W.

Publication Year: 2014  View PDF »

Category: Journal Articles
Associated Research Project(s):   FPL-4709-3B

Abstract: A thorough analysis of the kraft pulping process makes it obvious why it has dominated for over a century as an industrial process with no replacement in sight. It uses low-cost raw materials; collects and regenerates over 90% of the chemicals needed in the process; and is indifferent to wood raw material and good at preserving the cellulose portion of the wood, the part that provides strong fibers. Although the process is odiferous, extremely capital intensive, and very poor at preserving hemicellulose yield, no alternatives have been able to replace it for process cost and product quality. There is a misconception that no new pulping processes have been discovered since the discovery of kraft pulping. Besides the minor adjustments-such as anthraquinone or polysul-Fide-chlorine, chlorite, and peracetic acid holopulping were discovered and evaluated decades ago. Various solvent pulping methods were discovered and evaluated in the 1980s and 1990s. This work continues with ionic solvents, deep eutectic solvents, and most recently protic ionic liquids. Where all these alternative processes fail is process cost. The chemicals are too expensive and too difficult to recover for use in a commercial process to produce wood pulp. The premise of this review is that the only way to achieve better performance and lower cost than the existing kraft pulping process will be a process using a catalyst to control and direct the reactions. With a high enough reaction rate and a sufficiently high number of turnovers, even an expensive catalyst can still be low cost. We reviewed the literature of existing pulping and delignification catalysts and propose research areas of interest for more intensive experimental efforts.

Keywords: catalysis; pulping; review

Publication Review Process: Informally Refereed (Peer-Reviewed)

File size: 372 kb(s)

Date posted: 10/30/2014

This publication is also viewable on Treesearch:  view
RITS Product ID: 71492
Current FPL Scientist associated with this product
Rudie, Alan W.
Supervisory Research Chemist

Additional items that might interest you
View the video celebrating FPL's 100 years of public service in 2010, from the producers of the Greatest Good....view

Research Highlights from FPL....view

Termite Eradication: A search for the Holy Grail.... view

Moisture Management in Residential Construction Series videos...view

Wood Floor Systems in Residential Construction Series videos....view
- FPL's Mission and Strategic Plan -

FPL's mission is to identify and conduct innovative wood and fiber utilization research that contributes to conservation and productivity of the forest resource, thereby sustaining forests, the economy, and quality of life. ... ..more »

- FPL Research Emphasis Areas -
Advanced Composites

As an integral part of the FPL mission, we improve the long-term sustainability of our Nation's forests by creating valuable composite products from biobased materials ... ..more »

Advanced Structures

The FPL has been in the forefront of wood-frame housing research since 1910 and has long been recognized as a world leader in such housing-related areas as engineered wood ... ..more »

Forest Biorefinery

We all know the compelling reasons that the United States needs to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels. Historically, the greatest increases in energy demand have been for transportation fuels ... ..more »


A leader in wood products research for over a century, the FPL is positioning itself to become the lead Federal research facility for the application of nanotechnology in forest products ... more »

Woody Biomass Utilization

Forests in the United States contain a substantial amount of small-diameter, overstocked, and underutilized material.FPL research projects are exploring the potential of the small-diameter ... ..more »