Development of A Continuous Process for Displacement Dewatering

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The subject of this contract was to investigate the viability of a new process for dewatering paper called displacement pressing. The term “displacement pressing” was coined in the 1980s by researchers to describe a paper dewatering process where air is blown through a sheet of paper while it is being pressed. It was shown at that time that the combination of air and low pressing force could dramatically increase both sheet bulk and sheet solids which in theory would translate into huge savings in energy and fiber consumption. But there was a catch. Although the research results were dramatic, no ... continued below

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Beck, Dave October 30, 2006.

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Description

The subject of this contract was to investigate the viability of a new process for dewatering paper called displacement pressing. The term “displacement pressing” was coined in the 1980s by researchers to describe a paper dewatering process where air is blown through a sheet of paper while it is being pressed. It was shown at that time that the combination of air and low pressing force could dramatically increase both sheet bulk and sheet solids which in theory would translate into huge savings in energy and fiber consumption. But there was a catch. Although the research results were dramatic, no one could figure out a commercially viable process to carry out displacement pressing. All research work had been done with batch processes, and there was no obvious way to convert these processes into a continuous process. By the end of the early1990’s no one was researching in this area because no continuous process existed. Recently we proposed a new method to carry out displacement pressing. Our process uses special pressing fabrics and a special 4 roll press that we call a “Beck Cluster Press” or BCP. The BCP provides a pressurized atmosphere that acts on a moving web of paper and fabrics. The special fabrics designed for this process use this atmosphere to press the sheet and at the same time, these special fabrics force air through the sheet to carry out displacement pressing. 1 Because of the complexity and cost of building the first functioning BCP, a simple simulator was built to confirm and study the process. Although results from this simulator were extremely favorable, financial times were hard in the paper industry. We are grateful for the DOE contract that allowed us to continue research that showed the tremendous benefits of displacement pressing. Specifically, accomplishments from the DOE contract are as follows: 1. A narrow (5” wide sheet) lab Beck Cluster Press (BCP) was started up, and made operational. This press accepts hand sheets and displacement presses them at conditions that duplicate commercial conditions for dwell time, and pressure. 2. The lab BCP machine was used to verify simulator results. Results showed the lab BCP gave paper dryness that exceeded simulator results for dryness. 3. Sheet samples were obtained for several paper grades. These samples were pressed conventionally (shoe and roll presses) and with the lab BCP. Results showed significant gains in bulk (5-48%) compared to commercially pressed sheets while producing similar or higher dryness. These results verified the predictions of the earlier research papers. 4. Sheet bulk exceeded the Agenda 2020 goal a 7% increase. This increase in bulk was reported by Agenda 2020 as being worth about 3 billion dollars per year in fiber savings. Potential energy savings due to dryness savings could be worth $1 billion per year. However energy savings and fiber savings are inter-related so while savings are likely in both energy and fiber at the same time, increasing one will cause the other to decrease. 5. Based on the significant results of small-scale BCP trials, a 1m pilot BCP press stand was built to determine scalability of the process. 6. 1m pilot press stand was started up. This machine was shown to hold design pressure. Drive issues however prevented operation at operating speed and pressure during the contact period. Improvements to the drive system since the end of the DOE contract have allowed us to reach operating pressure and speed. 7. The last DOE objective of passing paper through the 1m BCP was not reached due to drive issues and the desire to study and qualify sealing systems. All other original objectives and the added objective (by contract revision) of this ambitious project have been met. 8. Several paper companies have showed interest in helping us commercialize this process. Interest is so high that these companies appear willing to invest in further development.

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  • Report No.: GO10622
  • Grant Number: FC36-01GO10622
  • DOI: 10.2172/895289 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 895289
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc890502

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  • October 30, 2006

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Jan. 9, 2017, 11:22 a.m.

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Beck, Dave. Development of A Continuous Process for Displacement Dewatering, report, October 30, 2006; United States. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc890502/: accessed September 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.