Hemicellulose Extraction from South African Eucalyptus grandis using Green Liquor and its Impact on Kraft Pulping Efficiency and Paper Making Properties

Jonas Johakimu, Jerome Andrew


The feasibility of enhancing the efficiency of the kraft pulping operations while at the same time evolving the process into a biorefinery, and thus producing hemicelluloses together with paper products, was studied. Hardwood chips (Eucalyptus grandis) were pre-treated with green liquor prior to pulp production. At optimal pre-treatment conditions, the pH of the resulting extract was 7.8, the wood weight loss was 14%, and the hemicellulose extracted was almost 40 kg/ton of woodchips. In the subsequent kraft pulping, the resulting data revealed that the woodchips from which hemicellulose had been pre-extracted could be pulped much faster than woodchips pulped without hemicellulose extraction. As a result, to maintain the target kappa number, a 20% reduction in pulping chemicals was achievable. Hemicellulose pre-extraction led to a 10% reduction in black liquor solid contents. Moreover, the strength properties of the pulps produced with and without hemicellulose extraction were comparable. Industrial acceptance of this concept, however, still requires a more accurate understanding of the effect of specific mill operating conditions on mill energy balance. Careful economic assessment of the options for handling the calcium carbonate scale problem will also be required before the technology can be considered for implementation.


Biorefinery; Eucalyptus grandis; Green liquor pre-treatment; Hemicellulose pre-extraction; Kraft cooking; Black liquor properties; Pulp quality; Paper strength properties

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