Designing Water Systems for Optimal Results
Paper mills use extremely large quantities of water. Today, there are 380 paper mills dotting the American landscape. In 2012, they supplied about 82 million tons of paper and pulp production (Source: Boston Globe, February 9, 2014).
The handheld device generation has reduced the need for newsprint, but America’s paper mills continue to be highly relevant to the economy, making other trade and consumer products, from corrugate to office paper to paper napkins and plates. Higher efficiencies for greater profitability are required of every successful operation to combat competition from China and to exceed the environmental controls that are state and federally regulated.
Recently, GEO representatives from the company’s Water Treatment Chemicals Division visited a paper mill in the southeast and sought to optimize its influent water system, which operated using 30 million gallons of H2O every day. GEO conducted a mix energy and equipment optimization study of the water plant to model the current system for jar testing. The study revealed:
1) The improper operation of the streaming current detector (SCD) caused wide readings and therefore much higher coagulant doses than necessary.
2) The mix energy in the current plant test was incorrect leading to improper test results and conclusions.
3) The polymer feed was too low causing higher coagulant doses.
4) The system was not being run optimally.
GEO Specialty Chemicals sought to conduct a trial which would correct the above issues and demonstrate how the plant could vastly improve its operation. The mill granted the trial and the results proved that:
1) lower coagulant doses were possible with a product change;
2) an increased polymer dosage would supply higher quality water than currently being supplied to the mill resulting in longer filter runs;
3) minor equipment changes would allow for higher quality water to be produced at the mill.
The trial, conducted by GEO’s Water Treatment Chemicals team in collaboration with mill operators, optimized this paper mill’s water system in the following ways:
1) a 25 percent turbidity improvement and lengthening of filter runs;
2) a one-time $650,000 financial improvement to operations;
3) significant supply chain improvement.
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