ENERVE - Energy-efficient dewatering

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2022

Project

Project is funded by European regional development fund (ERDF). The project is implemented by University of Eastern Finland and South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences - XAMK (coordinator).

Funder(s)

Main funder

South Savo Centre for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment

ENERVE - Energy-efficient dewatering funder logo ENERVE - Energy-efficient dewatering funder logo ENERVE - Energy-efficient dewatering funder logo

The goal of the Enerve project is to develop and pilot new measurement and modeling methods for energy-efficient
dewatering. The project is being implemented in close cooperation with companies. The functionality of the new
technology is demonstrated in pilot and real target processes. In addition, a commercialization study will be carried out
for potential product blanks.

The water contained in the fibers can be divided into internal and external water of the fibers. In these spaces, the
water, in turn, can be free or bound. The amount of water in and near the fiber is affected by the chemical state of the
environment, the porosity of the fiber wall, the hydrophilicity of the fiber, and the fibrils on the surface of the fiber.
Changes in the chemical state are caused by e.g. soup at the pulp mill and the washing process and pH adjustment at
the paper / board mills. The porosity of the fiber wall is the basis for the properties of the fibrous raw material and
further for the chemical state of the environment. In addition to the above, the number of micro – and macrofibrils on
the surface of the fiber is affected by mechanical treatments such as defibering and grinding.

Understanding the location of water is important because it affects the paper and board machine e.g. for dewatering
the press section and the drying energy required by the drying section. For example, with a board machine, 90% of the
energy is used for dewatering. It is therefore not just a matter of evaporating the water molecules but of breaking the
bonds between the cellulosic polymers of the fiber and the water. It should also be noted that drying energy is a very
significant part of the energy needs of paper and board production, so better anticipation and management mean
significant cost savings in production. The measurement and modeling method is expected to have significant benefits
in improving the energy efficiency of, for example, the drying processes of cellulose and plywood. In energy
production, it is also important to know the moisture content of the fuel and thus the energy used for drying when the
fuel burns, so that energy production can be kept at the expected level.

For several years, Xamk’s Fiber Laboratory has been conducting applied research related to a new measurement
method that can measure the states of water molecules in both fiber and wood samples. As a result of the research,
several invention notifications, three patents and several scientific publications have emerged. In addition to this, the
process informatics research group of the Department of Environmental and Life Sciences of the University of Eastern
Finland has been engaged in development work related to artificial intelligence research in industrial processes since
2004, which can be used to produce solutions for process modeling and management. Real-time measurement and
modeling based on this know-how enable the forecasting of energy demand and thus the cost-effective control of
processes. With better foresight and regulation, there will be the opportunity to optimize energy production, resulting in
better results in terms of both the environment and economy.

The project will also be carried out in a commercialisation study, identifying potential customers and their application
needs in relation to the subject matter of the project. Furthermore, the main competitors will be identified and the
strengths and weaknesses of the products will be analysed. This information can be used to identify the most potential
product segments and possible paths of exploitation of the results.

The main goal of the project is to develop and pilot new measurement and modeling methods for energy-efficient dewatering.
Its activities are in turn divided into five different work packages, which are WP1 Definition, WP2
Technology Development, WP3 Artificial Intelligence Models, WP4 Commercialization and WP5 Project Management
and Reporting.

Emerging research data and applied research support the regional strengths that can be developed to achieve
international commercial excellence in one of the most important markets in the global monitoring and modeling
business. The project supports the sustainable development of the industry.

Time period

01.01.2021 - 31.12.2022

Group members - UEF