The overall objective of the project is to strengthen the productivity and sustainability of the paper industry, and therefore, its global competitive position, through various interventions at the firm level. This project aims to demonstrate process improvement interventions as well as the applicability of two innovative technologies - membrane filtration and black liquor heat treatment in the Indian paper mills spread across the country, of different sizes and using different types of raw materials (i.e., wood, agro-residues and recycled fibre). This is expected to facilitate technology uptake and firm-level innovation, leading to increased productivity and competitiveness.
The project comprises two main focus areas:
- Demonstration of process optimization and productivity enhancement measures in paper mills:Under this activity, the project aims to demonstrate productivity enhancement measures pertaining to both, the technical aspects of paper production, combined with manufacturing excellence tools. The approach is to assess the performance of selected paper mills on aspects such as the efficiency of various sub-processes, factors contributing to quality and overall productivity, and identify measures which can be implemented in a relatively short time frame with minimal investments. These recommendations will comprise adjustments to the technical process as well as the adoption of suitable manufacturing excellence tools such as 5S, Kaizen, quality circles, among others.
- Demonstration of two innovative technologies at paper mills: Under this activity, pilot demonstration units for each technology are to be designed, developed and operationalized in paper mills (including trials, optimization of the process parameters, continuous operations under stabilized conditions and validation of the results) to show the techno-economic feasibility of adoption in the Indian context.
The two selected technologies are:
- Membrane filtration technology:
to facilitate maximum recycling of process water by treating paper mill effluents to reduce colour, total dissolved solids (TDS), chemical oxygen demand (COD) and other pollutants as per prescribed regulatory norms.
- Black liquor heat treatment technology: to improve the energy efficiency of the chemical recovery system by reducing the viscosity of black liquor, enabling achievement of higher black liquor solids during evaporation in agro-based pulp and paper mills.
These process improvement and technologies have been chosen for their wide replicability and potential impact across paper mills. The results of the demonstrations would then be disseminated to other paper mills in the respective paper industry clusters for widespread awareness and subsequent adoption.
The project interventions are expected to support the Indian paper industry in:
- Improved product quality, productivity and process and resource efficiency
- Increased water recycling and reduced freshwater consumption and wastewater discharge
- Ability to meet discharge norms prescribed by regulatory authorities
The adoption of these technologies is aligned with various schemes of the Government of India, such as the ‘Swachh Bharat Mission’ (Clean India Mission) as well as the National Mission for Clean Ganga.