November 11, 2015  
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Agenda 2020 completes workshops to develop technology research roadmaps

Co-Leads (l-r) Chris Verrill, IP, and Jim Bradbury, Verso

The Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance has completed its series of five workshops on advanced manufacturing technologies.

A workshop on "Breaking the Kraft Pulp Yield Barrier" took place October 8-9 at the Forest Products Laboratory, US Forest Service, in Madison, WI., and another on "Membrane-based Separation of Black Liquor" was held in Cincinnati, OH., October 15-16. These rounded out the workshop series which was supported by an Advanced Manufacturing Technology grant to Agenda 2020 from the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

The results from these workshops will be used to prepare roadmaps with actionable research concepts. Agenda 2020 and its members will then undertake initiatives to identify funding to pursue the projects, en route to creating breakthrough improvements in the industry’s efficiency and competitiveness. Several projects stemming from last year’s work are already under way.

Peter Hart of WestRock, and Bruce Archibald of International Paper, co-led the team on "Breaking the Yield Barrier." The workshop explored a series of pulping technology alternatives including catalysis, delignification techniques, chip activation, and others. A number of universities and USFS scientists participated with many pulp and paper manufacturing representatives.

The "Black Liquor Concentration Team," with co-leaders Chris Verrill of International Paper, and Jim Bradbury of Verso Paper, focused its efforts on membrane technology. Dr. Munir Cheryan, a recognized expert on membrane technology, gave a highlight presentation on approaches, success criteria, and potential pitfalls. More than a dozen representatives of membrane manufacturing companies and equipment suppliers joined manufacturing technical people in attending the workshop.

Each of these teams identified six project concepts for further development. Other workshops were conducted earlier this year on: Re-use of Process Effluents, Reducing Paper Machine Dryer Energy, and Nanocellulosic Materials. Information on these research concepts will soon be posted on the Agenda 2020 website, where comments and engagement of anyone interested will be encouraged.
“We are very grateful to NIST for the grant that enabled us to conduct these workshops,” said Agenda 2020 executive director David Turpin. “They produced several promising concepts that were not on our radar. We are eager to continue the work on these intriguing opportunities.”

For further information, please contact Agenda 2020 executive director David Turpin at: The Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance is an industry-led consortium that promotes development of advanced manufacturing technologies for the pulp and paper industry, with the objective of increasing its sustainability, efficiency, and competitiveness.

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