Norway: Turnkey Solutions Gea Delivers Process Solutions for the Production of Bio-Based Products

Editor: Alexander Stark

Gea supplied their Norwegian customer Borregaard with the supply of a turnkey plant for the spray drying of lignosulfonate in the double-digit million range. The solution also includes a new silo for feeding stored powder materials into the plant's packaging system and a large wet scrubber for dedusting. The entire process solution will be installed at the Norwegian site in Sarpsborg and commissioning is scheduled for the middle of 2019.

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Assembly of Spray drying facility at Borregaard
Assembly of Spray drying facility at Borregaard
(Source: Gea)

Düsseldorf/Germany — The production of value-added products from renewable raw materials is Borregaard's strategy. The company has already implemented various projects with Gea Norway in the past and already uses their decanters and separators. According to Ståle Schie-Veslum, Senior Purchaser at Borregaard, the new investment will allow further specialization of lignin production and thus greater flexibility and added value in the chemical market. The plant in Sarpsborg has an annual capacity of 160,000 tons of lignin, an increasing proportion of which are special products. The manufacturer intends to optimize their production with the new equipment, Schie-Veslum explains. The new infrastructure and energy facilities would reduce energy costs and offer significant environmental and safety benefits, he added.

As a water-soluble polymer, lignin is an organic substance found in trees and plants. It has a number of important functions as a support material, such as the strength of plant tissue, especially for its compressive strength. Therefore, the largest area of application for lignosulfonates is as a wetting and dispersing agent with about 68 percent. Due to their good adhesive properties, lignosulfonates are used as organic binders for a wide variety of applications, for example in concrete and building materials, textile dyes and ceramic products.

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Spray Drying of Sustainable White Biotech Product

At this plant the 25 t/h of lignosulfonates is directly fed into a rotary atomizer and spray dried. The final product is separated in two groups of consecutively cyclones. The second newly developed cyclones CEE (Cyclone Extra Efficiency) offers a higher separation efficiency, which increases the yield and reduces emission. In real life tests, the CEE powder separation efficiency was verified as being considerably higher than the efficiency of standard cyclones.

Part of the spray drying plant is the large wet scrubber for dedusting. The Venturi scrubber uses water to clean the exhaust gases from the spray dryer before they are released into the environment. The scrubbing water is circulated and fed continuously to a falling film evaporator for concentration and recovery of valuable substances. The condensate is returned to the spray dryer as process water and thus increases the total product yield while the concentrate is discharged. The evaporator is designed for 2 h/t of scrubbing water and energetically optimized by heating through mechanical vapor recompression.