Fiber Processing Pilot Plant
FPL's fiber processing pilot plant is equipped to replicate industrial pulping and papermaking processes on a pilot scale. From production and sizing of chips to chemical and mechanical pulping to paper and fiberboard production, researchers can test new methods and evaluate their effectiveness on equipment similar to that used by commercial pulp and paper manufacturers.
The pilot plant contains a state-of-the-art recycling plant with processes and equipment similar to those found in mills today. The 45,000 square foot facility has the capacity to recycle five dry metric tons of paper per day. The paper recycling pilot plant includes:
- high-consistency pulping
- pressure screening
- clarification by dissolved air flotation
The plant is configured in a closed-loop operation. Clarified process water can be recycled upstream for use in the pulping of additional batches and also as dilution water for the cleaning and screening stages. Typical yield is 70%.
For kraft pulping, the pilot plant has three 1 cubic foot digesters (~2 kg capacity) and two 13 cubic foot digesters (~35 kg capacity). Two batch bleaching towers can mix over 35 kg at 10% consistency or higher. A small drum washer is used to wash and thicken the pulp from both bleaching and the recycle system. A two-stage chemithermomechanical pulping pilot plant has been added to the facilities. A Sunds Defibrator CD-300 system, a plug screw discharge has been added between the preheater and refiner to enable filtrate extraction in biomass pretreatments for biorefinery and prehydrolysis thermomechanical pulp.
The Paper Test Laboratory is also a critical component to the success of FPL's pulp and paper research at the pilot plant. This pulp and paper testing facility focuses mainly on the testing of printing and writing grades of paper and is able to address most paper testing needs regarding strength, optical, and surface properties. Testing is conducted in a tightly controlled humidity room for optimum accuracy.