Characterization of Pre-treatments on Wood Chips Prior to Delignification by Near Infrared Spectroscopy

Jarmo Louhelainen, Joni Lehto, Teresa Kłosińska, Michał Drożdżek, Raimo Alén


A near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy-based method for predicting yields and lignin contents of differently pre-treated silver/white birch (Betula pendula/B. pubescens) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) chips was developed. The approach was to create multivariate calibration models from the NIR data by the partial least squares (PLS) method. Both parameters are important factors when adjusting adequate conditions for pre-treatments either with hot-water (HW) as such and slightly acidified HW (collectively referred to as autohydrolysis) or dilute alkaline aqueous solutions prior to alkaline pulping. Pre-treatment conditions were varied with respect to temperature (130 °C and 150 °C) and treatment time (from 30 min to 120 min). In the case of alkaline pre-treatments, the NaOH charge was 1% to 8% NaOH on wood dry solids (DS). The yields varied in the range 81.2% to 99.3% (in autohydrolyses) and 83.5% to 97.9% (in alkaline pre-treatments). High correlation coefficients and low prediction errors in relation to conventional yield and lignin content data clearly indicated the suitability of NIR spectroscopy combined with the multivariate modeling as an effective and fast tool for this purpose. This technique also showed promising possibilities for developing practical process control methods to follow such pre-treatments.


Alkaline; Near infrared; Partial least squares; Pre-treatment; Scots pine; Silver/white birch; Spectroscopy

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