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Forest Products Laboratory
One Gifford Pinchot Drive
Madison, WI 53726-2398
Phone: (608) 231-9200
Fax: (608) 231-9592
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Catalytic Pulping of Wood

Molecular model of cobalt salcomine with an oxygen attached. Tom Elder, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Molecular model of cobalt salcomine with an oxygen attached. Tom Elder, U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service.
Snapshot: The kraft pulping process has been around for more than 100 years. It is cost effective and efficient but provides a low fiber yield and a complex and expensive chemical recovery process. Using oxygen activated by a transition metal catalyst has the potential to raise fiber yield significantly while decreasing chemical costs and environmental concerns.
Summary:

The kraft pulping process dominates the paper industry worldwide primarily because of its low cost structure and ability to pulp nearly any wood species including mixed species. It has three principal drawbacks: the pulp fiber yield is low (40-45 percent for bleached paper grades), it requires a large chemical complex anciliary to the pulp mill to recover and regenerate the pulping chemicals, and the resulting pulp is a dark brown that requires extensive bleaching to provide a white product and also requires a wastewater discharge that is a major environmental management concern for large mills. A catalyzed oxygen pulping method could improve yield, decrease bleaching requirements, and greatly simplify the chemical recovery process. This project combined computational chemical modeling with synthetic efforts to rationally design and deliver improved catalysts.
Princpal Investigator(s):
 Rudie, Alan W.

Fiscal Year: 2016
Highlight ID: 658
 
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