Sappi to build sugar extraction demonstration plant at Ngodwana mill

Sappi Limited announced that it has entered into an agreement with Valmet for the construction of a second generation sugar extraction demonstration plant to explore and optimize the extraction of biorenewable chemicals. The plant will be close to industrial size and will be located at Sappi's Ngodwana Mill in South Africa.

The demonstration plant will extract hemicellulose sugars and lignin from Sappi's existing dissolving pulp line.

The sugars platform will include beneficiation to higher value organic acids, glycols and sugar alcohols which find application in many everyday products.

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.

Commenting on the decision, Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology, explained that the demonstration plant will accelerate Sappi's move into new adjacent business fields based on renewable raw materials. Sappi's strategy includes seeking growth opportunities by extracting further value from existing production processes.

“The demonstration plant will make it possible to study the next generation dissolving pulping process and test new ideas at mill scale. The main features which we hope to demonstrate include increasing production output, higher dissolving pulp quality, lower operating cost and a new optimized hydrolysate revenue stream. The products from the demonstration plant will assist in the development of various beneficiation options for the different dissolving wood pulp lines operated by Sappi,” Rossi explained.