In 2016 Sappi and Valmet agreed on a joint development project to deliver a demonstration plant to Sappi Ngodwana Mill in South Africa in order to explore and optimize the extraction of biorenewable chemicals.
The demonstration plant was officially opened on April 5, 2017. Guests from all over the world participated in the opening ceremony which included speeches from Sappi and Valmet management representatives.
The event was opened by Alex Thiel, Chief Executive Officer of Sappi Southern Africa and followed by SW Engelbrecht, General Manager Sappi Ngodwana Mill, who gave a mill perspective. Bertel Karlstedt, Business Line President Pulp and Energy, Valmet, highlighted the good cooperation between Sappi and Valmet and finally Luis Kruyshaar, leader of Sappi Biotech division, introduced the biotechnology concept.
"The plant continues Sappi's strategic move into the biomaterials and bio-energy business fields to extract more value from the production processes and in response to the global demand for renewable materials with a lower carbon footprint," commented Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology from Sappi.
"The development of solutions to replace fossil materials with renewable ones and to produce new high-value end products is one of Valmet's research and development focus areas. This project is a concrete example of new opportunities. By working together, we have been able to combine Valmet's leading technology knowledge with Sappi's process and market insight," said Bertel Karlstedt, Business Line President, Pulp and Energy from Valmet.
"New revenue opportunities include possibilities to extract biobased materials from the cooking plant such as hemicellulose sugars and lignin for beneficiation to higher value biochemicals. The products under development will expand Sappi's renewable biomaterials offering which include nanocellulose, biocomposites and lignosulphonate," said Louis Kruyshaar, leader of the new Sappi Biotech division.
The plant is close to industrial size and makes it possible to study the next generation dissolving cooking process and test new ideas in mill scale.
Information about the customer Sappi
South African headquartered Sappi is a leading global producer of dissolving wood pulp and graphics, speciality and packaging papers. The company uses research and development to drive product innovation and to develop new uses for wood fiber, biomass and other residues from its production processes. One such area of investigation is in the field of biomaterials (nanocellulose and lignins), biochemicals and bio-energy forest products materials.
Valmet is the leading global developer and supplier of process technologies, automation and services for the pulp, paper and energy industries. We aim to become the global champion in serving our customers.
Valmet's strong technology offering includes pulp mills, tissue, board and paper production lines, as well as power plants for bioenergy production. Our advanced services and automation solutions improve the reliability and performance of our customers' processes and enhance the effective utilization of raw materials and energy.
Valmet's net sales in 2016 were approximately EUR 2.9 billion. Our 12,000 professionals around the world work close to our customers and are committed to moving our customers' performance forward - every day. Valmet's head office is in Espoo, Finland and its shares are listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.