The kraft process is a complex system with many variables, and though the process is fairly well understood, there is still much we do not know.
This thesis examines some aspects of the kraft process that could prove to be of interest for the pulp and paper industry, specifically, the impact of wood chip impregnation and of the chemical structure of xylan on spruce kraft pulp. The intent is to suggest modifications to the kraft process as it is used today.
The effect of wood chip impregnation varies with the prevalent conditions, and increases the effect of the subsequent kraft cook. Longer impregnation at a lower temperature was found to increase screened pulp yield, reduce shives content, make it possible to reach a certain kappa number at a lower H-factor, and make it possible to reach a certain kappa number at a lower total alkali consumption.
Xylan has previously been found to have a strength-enhancing effect on pulp, and the chemical structure of the xylan in question was found to be the main strength-enhancing factor. For spruce xylan, the structure that provides the largest increase in strength is not the same as the structure that increases the yield the most. Removing xylan was determined to have a negative impact on pulp strength.
Xylan extracted from agro waste can be used as an additive to increase pulp strength. This could be viable, especially when combined with the production of green plastics from hemicelluloses extracted from the agro waste.
A suggested configuration of a future pulp mill is presented, incorporating the following modifications to the now standard kraft cooking system: