The pulp and paper industry, accounting for around 2% of global industrial emissions, plays a significant role in our environmental landscape. In 2020, Europe’s pulp and paper industry emitted 62 million tonnes of CO2. Meanwhile, the United States, the world’s largest producer of pulp and paper with 212 businesses, sees its pulp mills emit approximately 150 million tonnes of CO2 each year..
The majority of pulp is produced through chemical pulping processes, with the Kraft pulping process being the most prevalent. This process results in large point source emissions, predominantly from the combustion of lignin that is separated from the cellulose during the pulping process. Other significant sources of emissions at a pulp and paper plant include the lime kiln, where lime mud is heated to recover lime, and potentially a bark- or auxiliary boiler. These can be fuelled with various energy sources such as natural gas, coal, oil, or biomass.
Interestingly, approximately 75 – 100% of the CO2 emissions from a pulp mill originate from biomass. This opens up an exciting opportunity for reducing these emissions and even achieving negative emissions through Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage (BECCS). BECCS works by capturing the CO2 emissions generated during the combustion of biomass that has absorbed CO2 from the atmosphere during photosynthesis. The CO2 is then captured from the flue gas using post-combustion capture technologies, such as amine scrubbing technology. The interest in bio-based carbon capture has increased dramatically as the voluntary market for selling Carbon Removal Credits (CDR) is growing and large companies are buying these to offset emissions.
Amine-based CO2 capture technology is a chemical capture method based on the reaction between an amine-containing solvent and the CO2 in the flue gas. This technology is ideally suited for flue gases with a CO2 concentration between 3.5 and25%. Industry sectors within this window include pulp and paper, which typically has a CO2 concentration of 12 – 20%, along with waste-to-energy, cement, coal, refinery processes and hydrogen production.
By harnessing innovative technologies like BECCS and amine-based CO2 capture, we can make significant strides in reducing emissions in the pulp and paper industry and contribute to global sustainability efforts. Aker Carbon Capture’s modularized Just Catch™ 400 unit is uniquely suited to address the needs of the pulp and paper industry. Our technology has been tested extensively, with over 65,000 hours of operation capturing CO2 from 11 different flue gases of various quality and composition. This experience has given us a deep understanding of the unique challenges and requirements of CO2 capture from different industries, including the pulp and paper industry.
The Just Catch™ 400 capacity of up to 450 000 tonnes CO2 per year is ideal for capturing the emissions from a typical pulp and paper mill.
Moreover, the Just Catch™ 400 unit is a standardized and modularized product. This design approach results in significant cost savings, both in terms of capital expenditure and operational costs. The standardized design allows for quicker manufacturing times, while the modular nature of the unit enables easier and quicker installation at the site. This not only reduces lead times but also minimizes disruption to existing operations.
In conclusion, with the Just Catch 400, pulp and paper mills have an additional instrumenttowards achieving their sustainability goals.
For further reading on CO2 capture from the pulp and paper industry with the ACC technology, download our white paper here: Post combustion CO2 capture in pulp and paper production – Aker Carbon Capture.
 U.S. pulp and paper industry – statistics & facts | Statista
 Prospects for bioenergy with carbon capture & storage (BECCS) in the United States pulp and paper industry – Energy & Environmental Science (RSC Publishing)
 Reduction of atmospheric CO2 through capture and permanent storage of CO2 from biomass conversion to heat and power