Making the Indian Paper sector more productive, profitable and sustainable

Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh; 30 June 2022: An audit tool to monitor and improve productivity performance of Indian paper mills has been developed by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO). The tool, which covers critical KPIs related to technical aspects of paper production, was shared with stakeholders at a technical workshop organized by UNIDO in collaboration with Central Paper & Pulp Research Institute (CPPRI). The workshop on ‘Productivity Enhancement Measures, Innovation and Odour Control Technology in the Indian Paper Industry’ was organized as part of a project being implemented by UNIDO for the paper sector, supported by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Government of India.

The aim of the workshop was to provide an overview of the activities and interventions of the UNIDO project, which focuses on demonstrating (i) innovative technologies in the operational environment of diverse paper mills spread across the country, as well as (ii) process optimization and productivity enhancement measures that may be implemented in the short term with minimal investments a d system overhauls.

In addition to the tool, UNIDO also shared at the workshop the successful results of technology trials conducted in effort to abate odour prevalent in paper mills, owing to microbial activity generated during the paper making process. Conventional odour control efforts include the usage of biocides (or combinations thereof), which are found to have limited efficacy. The application of chlorine dioxide, on the other hand, is a viable alternative, evidenced by reduced microbial count as well as VFA counts.

The trials, conducted at a mill in Tamil Nadu have proved the efficacy of this treatment option, and will be replicated in other mills as well.

The workshop saw participation from many distinguished representatives of the innovation ecosystem of the paper industry cluster in and around the Muzaffarnagar area.

In his Keynote address, Dr. M.K Gupta, Director CPPRI expressed that the Indian paper industry must adopt solutions that improve environmental sustainability as well as product quality. He appreciated the novel odour control technology, involving application of chlorine dioxide, developed and demonstrated by UNIDO is an example of such a solution, with immense potential for the sector.

Mr. Pankaj Agarwal highlighted the strong need for paper mills in India to focus on energy and resource efficiency, thereby appreciating UNIDO’s efforts in process optimization productivity enhancement measures being undertaken at Tirupathi Balaji Fibers, Muzaffarnagar as a demonstration site, which have resulted in significant savings.

Dr. B.P. Thapliyal, Secretary General, IARPMA, highlighted that it is a must for the paper industry to be vibrant, in order for it to grow. He reiterated that the industry has benefitted immensely from the network of international experts through UNIDO, contributing to this vitality. He further added that technical support must focus on building the competitiveness of MSMEs, especially those units using recycled fibre s a raw material, given their importance in terms of production volumes.

Mr. Kunwar Shekhar Vijender, Chancellor, Shobhit University, in his inaugural address, expressed appreciation of the efforts being undertaken by the paper mills in the Muzaffarnagar cluster as well as UNIDO’s efforts in supporting the industry. He emphasized the need to strengthen the linkages between academia and industry, to develop and promulgate applied and innovative solutions in line with industry’s needs.

The Muzaffarnagar paper cluster, which contributes approximately 8-10% of the total national paper production, is an important paper producing area for not only the State of Uttar Pradesh, but for India at large. The distinguished speakers and participants highlighted the high relevance of the technologies and solutions being showcased under the UNIDO paper project for the cluster. The attendees invited UNIDO to carry out more demonstrations, especially for odour control, noting that any demonstrations conducted in the cluster would be replicated and disseminated very quickly, due to high level of interest and ingenuity of mills in the region.