Current Project

The delignification of wood chips during the Kraft cooking process is the bottleneck step in the process because the lignin has to be removed from the chips before the remaining cellulose can be turned into pulp. The overall goal is to investigate the possibility of pre-treating wood chips with a solvent to remove lignin before the cooking process. To ensure none of the pre-treatment solvent enters the cooking process, the pre-treated chips are then washed in a multi-stage countercurrent washing process. This study aims to provide a model of the washing process to determine the optimum number of washing steps needed.

Everything from paper towels to the cardboard boxes used to ship your Amazon Prime orders is made out of pulp, which starts out as wood. Turning wood into pulp takes a lot of energy, because up to one-third of the wood (in the form of lignin) needs to be removed before the pulp can be used to make paper. This lignin is usually removed as the wood slowly cooks into pulp, but there’s so much lignin that it slows down the cooking process. To speed the process up, we are looking for a way to pull the lignin out of wood before we cook it. Doing this allows us to make pulp more quickly, which means more paper products at cheaper prices.

For more information, read here.