There are three levels which are relevant in considering integrated solutions. The first and superordinate level considers the entire value creation chain, starting with the removal of raw materials from the environment, creation, distribution and use of the products, all the way to returning them back to our ecosystem. As a renewable raw material that decomposes naturally but can also be technically recycled, paper – invented more than 2,000 years ago – is an ideal material for mass products. And because it is a mass product, even more consistent paths have to be taken so papermaking can be resource-saving and at the same time cost-effective.
The second level refers to the paper mill and the third refers to the actual production line, from stock preparation to the reel. Voith Paper comes into play on both of these levels and already today offers various solutions. The green technology focus of Voith Paper also pursues three specific aims for integrated solutions: 1st, cutting the use of primary energy in half; 2nd, reduction of fresh water consumption to at most 1 l/kg of paper; and 3rd, maximization of the recycling rate.
Over the last few years, Voith Paper has demonstrated with numerous developments that energy savings are possible in all areas of the production line through the use of new and integrated solutions. Up to 25% savings with modern pulpers, up to 30% with new heated roll coatings and likewise up to 30% by using a Single NipcoFlex press or 10% through using the EcoProcess concept in stock preparation – the list could go on. Despite all these contributions, the long-term goal remains the cutting of paper manufacturing energy consumption in half – a big challenge for Voith Paper.
Reduction of fresh water consumption will be implemented more quickly. Given the internationally distinguished fundamental developments so far from Voith Paper Environmental Solutions regarding water preparation, Voith seems confident. It was completely appropriate that the coordinated combination of bioreactor and lime trap received the Green Apple Award for sustainable developments and it is incidentally a very good example of an integrated solution at the paper mill level.
Bigger difficulties ariese in the case of recycling. In the paper manufacturing cycle, there are material components that are not yet sufficiently capable of being recycled: e.g. additives, printing inks and adhesives. Thus there is still a need for action within the value creation chain level.