Voith launches new research project to drive paper industry towards climate neutrality

GERMANY – Leading global technology group for the paper industry, Voith has launched a new research project called FOREST together with partners from industry and research.

The project, titled ‘Framework fOr Resource, Energy, Sustainability Treatment (FOREST)’, received initial approval from the project management organization Jülich on 1 April this year.

It is being funded by the German government’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, under its 7th Energy Research Programme.

The goal of the project is to develop a fully comprehensive digital map for papermaking processes that can capture energy and material flows, as well as CO2 flows and footprints, down to the sub-process and sub-product levels.

The digital framework identifies multiple optimization opportunities that promote a targeted acceleration of the paper industry’s transformation toward climate neutrality.

By visualizing the actual state of the production facilities, all stakeholders gain a deeper understanding of the processes.

In particular, the innovative solution makes it possible to identify plant areas with high optimization potential during ongoing operations using current data.

With the help of the digital framework, for example, the optimum settings for minimized CO2 emissions can be determined and the benefits of rebuild measures can be estimated in advance.

In addition, the digital framework supports the definition of requirements for future developments. In this way, the influence of new framework conditions, such as changes in energy supply or costs, can be modeled.

After the first kick-off meeting, the project team is now working to define the requirements and interfaces for the framework and derive a requirements catalog.

In addition to a physical basic model, this framework also includes specific, more detailed modeling of individual sub-processes, which are also being developed by Voith as part of the project.

In the next step, Voith will test the digital framework together with the other research partners on various pilot installations.

Other participating industry and research partners involved in FOREST include ABB, Modellfabrik Papier, Sappi Ehingen, the Paper Technology Foundation, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, NOWUM-Energy Institute at FH-Aachen University of Applied Sciences, and the chair of Wood Technology and Fiber Materials Technology at TU Dresden.

Early this year, the company partnered with Essity to develop a groundbreaking concept for sustainable paper production.

The development incorporates both Essity’s extensive expertise in the tissue industry and Voith’s knowledge as the leading technology supplier.

As part of the innovation and development initiative “Papermaking for Life,” Voith Paper presents versatile technologies and solutions that lead to more efficient and sustainable processes in papermaking.

The emphasis is on water, energy and fiber savings as well as digitalization, innovations and partnerships as levers for more sustainable production.

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