Nip Impressions logo
Tue, Feb 7, 2023 00:45
Visitor
Home
Click here for Pulp & Paper Radio International
Subscription Central
Must reads for pulp and paper industry professionals
Search
My Profile
Login
Logout
Management Side

How to Make Steam Without Fossil Fuels or Producing CO2

Our mill got a call one day from Wisconsin Electric Power Company (WEPCO), asking if we were doing anything unusual? As it so happened, we were restarting the mill after the spring shut down and maintenance. Why did they ask?

Lights were flickering across half of Wisconsin and people were calling WEPCO asking what was happening. It turned out that the responsible person at our mill forgot to tell WEPCO we were restarting the mill, and WEPCO was unprepared for the massive current draw as our mill started up again.

Mills consume massive amounts of power. This kind of power consumption, combined with current energy issues, raises the question: how does one make steam for a paper machine without using fossil fuels or producing carbon dioxide?

Wind is unreliable, solar is insufficient, and somehow using nuclear power at a paper plant seems impractical. What other options are there?

Two developing areas are worth watching:

  1. Depending on where you are, geothermal may be a very simple way to get your steam or (already) hot water. (In North America, this is most practical on or near the West Coast.) Case in point, in California, geothermal power plants are in operation. But even on the East Coast, where geothermal is used for heating and cooling homes and businesses, this technology may have an application at mills where water is below boiling.

  1. Keep an eye on hydrogen power. Chevron is doing a lot of research in this area, including infrastructure planning, and there may well be useful applications in the pulp and paper industries.

While biodiesel fuels do emit CO2 when consumed, growing plants also absorb CO2,, thus providing a balance ("net zero") to the big picture. This may or may not be true, since many factors are involved. Engineers in the crowd can weigh the pros and cons.

This chart from Missouri University lists the features and characteristics of different biodiesel fuels compared to diesel:

Comparison of fuel properties

Oil

Viscosity (cS)

Cloud point (°F)

Cetane number

Heat energy (BTU per pound)

Weight density (pounds per gallon)

Soybean

35

24

38

17,035

7.6

Soy ester

5

34

45

17,260

7.7

Sunflower

33

23

37

17,035

7.6

Sunflower ester

5

34

49

16,366

7.3

Canola

37

25

37

17,072

7.6

Canola ester

6

50

54

17,390

7.2

Crambe

54

50

44

17,404

7.5

#2 Diesel

3

5

47

19,494

7.1

Of course viscosity and density of fluids can have quite an effect on operations, so all costs need to be very carefully considered. Also, if you're set up for biodiesel fuels, you need to have backups in the event of famine or flood. (Nothing's ever easy.)

Thankfully, there are more than just solar power or wind farms as "green" power options. Hydrogen power is already used in some industries. Geothermal power is in use also, but would need to be adapted to the paper industry.

Now is your time to start (or continue) exploring this topic, so if there are further environmental regulations applied to your facility you will have the advantage by already having vetted all viable options.



 


 Related Articles:


 


Powered by Bondware
News Publishing Software

The browser you are using is outdated!

You may not be getting all you can out of your browsing experience
and may be open to security risks!

Consider upgrading to the latest version of your browser or choose on below: