Showing posts with label green liquor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label green liquor. Show all posts

Overview of Chemical Recovery Processes in Pulp & Paper Mills

Chemical Recovery Processes in Pulp & Paper Mills
Figure 1
The kraft process is the dominant pulping process in the United States, accounting for approximately 85 percent of all domestic pulp production. The soda pulping process is similar to the kraft process, except that soda pulping is a non-sulfur process. One reason why the kraft process dominates the paper industry is because of the ability of the kraft chemical recovery process to recover approximately 95 percent of the pulping chemicals and at the same time produce energy in the form of steam. Other reasons for the dominance of the kraft process include its ability to handle a wide variety of wood species and the superior strength of its pulp.

The production of kraft and soda paper products from wood can be divided into three process areas:
  1. Pulping of wood chips
  2. Chemical recovery
  3. Product forming (includes bleaching)
Chemical Recovery Processes in Pulp & Paper Mills
Figure 2
The relationship of the chemical recovery cycle to the pulping and product forming processes is shown in Figure 1. Process flow diagrams of the chemical recovery area at kraft and soda pulp mills are shown in Figures 1 and 2, respectively.

The purpose of the chemical recovery cycle is to recover cooking liquor chemicals from spent
cooking liquor. The process involves concentrating black liquor, combusting organic compounds, reducing inorganic compounds, and reconstituting cooking liquor.

Cooking liquor, which is referred to as "white liquor, is an aqueous solution of sodium hydroxide (Na01) and sodium sulfide (Na2S) that is used in the pulping area of the mill. In the pulping process, white liquor is introduced with wood chips into digesters, where the wood chips are "cooked" under pressure. The contents of the digester are then discharged to a blow tank, where the softened chips are disintegrated into fibers or "pulp. The pulp and spent cooking liquor are subsequently separated in a series of brown stock washers: Spent cooking liquor, referred to as "weak black liquor, from the brown stock washers is routed to the chemical recovery area. Weak black liquor is a dilute solution (approximately 12 to 15 percent solids) of wood lignins, organic materials, oxidized inorganic compounds (sodium sulfate (Na2SO4), sodium carbonate (Na2003)), and white liquor (Na2S and Na0H).

In the chemical recovery cycle, weak black liquor is first directed through a series of multiple-effect evaporators (MEE's) to increase the solids content to about 50 percent. The "strong. (or "heavy") black liquor from the MEE's is then either oxidized in the BLO system if it is further concentrated in a DCE or routed directly to a concentrator (NDCE). Oxidation of the black liquor prior to evaporation in a DCE reduces emissions of TRS compounds, which are stripped from the black liquor in the DCE when it contacts hot flue gases from the recovery furnace. The solids content of the black liquor following the final evaporator/concentrator typically averages 65 to 68 percent.

Concentrated black liquor is sprayed into the recovery furnace, where organic compounds are combusted, and the Na2SO4 is reduced to Na2S. The black liquor burned in the recovery furnace has a high energy content (13,500 to 15,400 kilojoules per kilogram (kJ/kg) of dry solids (5,800 to 6,600 British thermal units per pound {Btu/lb} of dry solids)), which is recovered as steam for process requirements, such as cooking wood chips, heating and evaporating black liquor, preheating combustion air, and drying the pulp or paper products. Particulate matter (PM) (primarily Na2SO4) exiting the furnace with the hot flue gases is collected in an electrostatic precipitator (ESP) and added to the black liquor to be fired in the recovery furnace. Additional makeup Na2SO4, or "saltcake," may also be added to the black liquor prior to firing.

Molten inorganic salts, referred to as "smelt," collect in a char bed at the bottom of the furnace. Smelt is drawn off and  dissolved in weak wash water in the SDT to form a solution of carbonate salts called "green liquor," which is primarily Na2S and Na2CO3. Green liquor also contains insoluble unburned carbon and inorganic Impurities, called dregs, which are removed in a series of clarification tanks.

Decanted green liquor is transferred to the causticizing area, where the Na2CO3 is converted to NaOH by the addition of lime (calcium oxide [Ca0]). The green liquor is first transferred to a slaker tank, where Ca0 from the lime kiln reacts with water to form calcium hydroxide (Ca(OH)2). From the slake, liquor flows through a series of agitated tanks, referred to as causticizers, that allow the causticizing reaction to go to completion (i.e., Ca(OH)2 reacts with Na2CO3 to form NaOH and CaCO3).

The causticizing product is then routed to the white liquor clarifier, which removes CaCO3 precipitate, referred to as "lime mud." The lime mud, along with dregs from the green liquor clarifier, is washed in the mud washer to remove the last traces of sodium. The mud from the mud washer is then dried and calcined in a lime kiln to produce "reburned" lime, which is reintroduced to the slaker. The mud washer filtrate, known as weak wash, is used in the SDT to dissolve recovery furnace smelt. The white liquor (NaOH and Na2S) from the clarifier is recycled to the digesters in the pulping area of the mill.

At about 7 percent of kraft mills, neutral sulfite semi-chemical (NSSC) pulping is also practiced. The NSSC process involves pulping wood chips in a solution of sodium sulfite and sodium bicarbonate, followed by mechanical de-fibrating. The NSSC and kraft processes often overlap in the chemical recovery loop, when the spent NSSC liquor, referred to as "pink liquor," is mixed with kraft black liquor and burned in the recovery furnace. In such cases, the NSSC chemicals replace most or all of the makeup chemicals. For Federal regulatory purposes, if the weight percentage of pink liquor solids exceeds 7 percent of the total mixture of solids fired and the sulfidity of the resultant green liquor exceeds 28 percent, the recovery furnace is classified as a "cross-recovery furnace.'" Because the pink liquor adds additional sulfur to the black liquor, TRS emissions from cross recovery furnaces tend to be higher than from straight kraft black liquor recovery furnaces.

Industrial Refractometers in Action: Pulp & Paper Mill

This video below highlights various applications for inline refractometers in a pulp and paper mill.

The Electron Machine Corporation pioneered the use of refractometers to accurately measure black liquor dissolved solids nearly 50 years ago. Our long history with this application has resulted in numerous design features that specifically address problems associated with this harsh process measurement. Electron Machine refractometers have been accurately measuring green liquor solids in the paper industry for more than 30 years.

For more information visit http://www.electronmachine.com or call 352-669-3101.

Refractometers for Pulp and Paper Processing

The Electron Machine MPR E-Scan has numerous applications in the paper industry. The most common applications are on black liquor and green liquor. Electron Machine Corporation pioneered the use of refractometers to accurately measure black liquor dissolved solids nearly 50 years ago.


Black Liquor is the waste product from the process of digesting pulpwood into paper pulp by removing various elements to free the cellulose fibers. Electron Machine's long history with this application has resulted in numerous design features that specifically address problems associated with this harsh process measurement.

Green liquor is the dissolved concentration of sodium sulfide, sodium carbonate, and other compounds from the recovery boiler in the paper making process.  Electron Machine Corporation has been actively refining the use of refractometers for measuring green liquor density for over 30 years. The current system uses the MPR E-Scan refractometer combined with heated high-pressure water for cleaning. The resulting combination provides an effective removal of optical coatings by reducing thermal changes, minimizing maintenance to allow for a reliable measurement source for on-line automatic control.

The MDS Monitor Divert System is a BLRBAC compliant Black Liquor solids monitoring system designed specifically for Black Liquor recovery boilers. The MDS Monitor Divert System consists of two completely independent MPR E-Scan Hybrid-Digital refractometers with a separate monitor console that supervises the proper operation of each refractometer. The monitor constantly insures that all parameters remain within operational limits and applies the proper divert or alarm actions should a fault or low solids liquor be detected. A built-in printer records all actions with a date and time stamp. The entire system is designed to be user friendly with large daylight-readable color displays and an intuitive menu-driven interface.

The MPR E-Scan also gives paper companies the ability to accurately control the washing line, by detecting changes in the total dissolved solids coming off the washers. This precise measurement allows effective control of the fresh water flow to the washers, reducing excessive water usage. Combining the measurement with data- analysis tools, a company can monitor inefficiencies in the washing line and evaluate the washing results. Allowing improvements in washing efficiency and overall reduction in water. The MPR E- Scan will reduce the overall time needed to meet target dilution. With near instant readings of black liquor concentration and temperature, the instrument removes the reliance on offline testing. 

For more information, visit http://www.electronmachine.com or call 352-669-3101.

Industrial Inline Refractometer for Green Liquor Density in Pulp & Paper Plant

Electron Machine Corporation has been actively refining the use of refractometers for measuring green liquor density for over 30 years. Their incremental efforts in this application has led to the current combination using the MPR E-Scan with their high pressure cleaner (HPC) adapter supplied with heated demineralized water. The removable nozzle provides for easy maintenance. This system ensures an accurate measurement in these difficult scaling conditions.

Inline Refractometers Tough Enough for Paper Plant Black and Green Liquor Lines

Refractometer and HPC Adapter with High Pressure Purge System
Refractometer and HPC Adapter
with High Pressure Purge System


It's said the only thing a pulp and paper plant doesn't reuse is the "shade the building casts". The processes used in the production of pulp and paper are very efficient when you consider the reuse of energy and by-products. The efficiency comes at a cost though - through very hostile atmospheres and demanding operating conditions for process equipment.

For example, the "kraft process" (also known as the sulfate process) is the method to convert wood chips into pulp and then to cellulose fibers. This is done by mixing the wood chips with sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphate, soaking, cooking and processing.

Here's a very basic explanation of the kraft process. Wood chips are soaked and processed in sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphate mixture known as "white liquor". After the wood chips are impregnated with white liquor, they are then cooked in digesters to break the wood down into cellulose. The solid pulp is then separated and the remaining fluid is referred to as "black liquor". Black liquor is further processed to remove solids and chemicals which are to be re-used in the pulping process. One of the final by-products is "green liquor" which contains sodium carbonate and sodium sulfide and is then reacted with lime to regenerate more white liquor.

All of these steps expose instruments, process equipment, piping, and valves to very tough environments. Electron Machine Corporation, a manufacturer of extremely rugged inline process refractometers, has been actively refining the use of refractometers for measuring green and black liquor density for over 30 years.

The scaling associated with these applications results in an optical coating on the refractometer sensing head. If this scaling can be controlled to allow an acceptable duration of on-line measurement, and then effectively removed when coating occurs, the accuracy of the refractometer can be fully utilized with minimal maintenance. The primary issue then becomes the maintenance required to keep the cleaning system operating effectively.

Electron Machine's efforts led to a system using their "almost indestructible" MPR E-Scan Refractometer combined with heated high-pressure water for cleaning. The resulting combination provides an effective removal of optical coatings by reducing thermal changes and minimizing maintenance to allow for a reliable measurement source for on-line automatic control.

If you're interested in refractometry in pulp and paper processing, look no further than Electron Machine. They have the history, the experience, and the toughest inline refractometer on the planet.

For more information, visit http://www.electronmachine.com or call (352) 669-3101.

Reliably and Consistently Measuring Green Liquor Density in the Paper Mill

Paper mill green liquor density measurement system
Paper mill green liquor
density measurement system.
Green liquor is the dissolved concentration of sodium sulfide, sodium carbonate, and other compounds from the recovery boiler in the paper making process. Measuring its density is a critical component for the quality of the paper production.

The difficult scaling associated with green liquor results in an optical coating on the refractometer sensing head. If this scaling can be controlled to allow an acceptable duration of on-line measurement, and then effectively removed when coating occurs, the accuracy of the refractometer can be fully utilized with minimal maintenance. The primary issue then becomes the maintenance required to keep the cleaning system operating effectively. 

Using inline refractometers with accompanying heated high-pressure water cleaning systems provides excellent results in effective removal of optical coatings by reducing thermal changes, minimizing maintenance, and allowing for a reliable measurement source for on-line automatic control.

The Electron Machine MPR EScan is used to measure the green liquor dissolved density, or TTA, at two stages in the process: after the green liquor dissolving tank and after the green liquor clarifier. The in-line measurement, with the refractometer sensing head installed directly in the main process lines, allows real-time control of green liquor dilution to meet target TTA set-points. The measurement is also used to indicate (and prevent) excessive green liquor density and the resulting dangerous impending crystallization within the dissolving tank.
Paper mill green liquor density measurement system MPR Escan
Electron Machine MPR Escan

Reducing the variation of green liquor solids by automatically controlling weak-wash dilution with the MPR E-Scan refractometer results in a reduction in scaling. Scaling issues are further reduced when pressurized water, heated to the process temperature, is used to effectively clean the refractometer optical components. The compound result is beneficial for both control and maintenance.

For more information, visit www.electronmachine.com or call 352-669-3101.