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Cross-sector collaboration launches trial on Holmen's site in Workington

A major milestone has been reached in a global innovation project aimed at investigating the feasibility of recycling biogenic CO2 emissions and using it in the manufacturing of household products.


Some 17 organisations, including global manufacturing giants, universities, and innovation experts, are working together in the unprecedented collaboration Flue2chem to examine the potential for using biogenic carbon emissions as an alternative source of carbon in the manufacture of household products.


The findings from the project will inform the industry and the government about the feasibility of using non virgin fossil fuel sources for household and consumer products. The project could, if successful, reduce the need for oil and gas extraction in the future to make detergent and other manufactured goods. 


In the project's first stage, the partners will examine the transformation of biogenic carbon, captured from the flue gas emissions at Holmen’s mill in Workington, into surfactants – the active ingredient in household detergents. After this first stage trial, the carbon capture equipment will be passed to a second site for continued investigation.


Ulf Lofgren, managing director of Holmen’s mill in Workington, is delighted with the progress so far, saying: ‘We are extremely proud to be a part of this groundbreaking project and working as part of a collaboration such as this, with innovative industrial and scientific partners.’


Holmen’s mill here in the UK is an integrated pulp and paperboard mill, home to the premium folding boxboard Incada. It operates a biomass fuelled combined heat and power plant to generate electricity and steam for paperboard production with a surplus of power exported to the national grid.

Earlier this year, the mill took delivery of the carbon capture equipment, which has been developed by the University of Sheffield and CCU International. The plant was commissioned in March and began to capture biogenic carbon for further analysis. 


Ian Black has been heavily involved with this vital project stage on behalf of Holmen. He reflected on the project and the fit with the company's values, saying, ‘Sustainability has been a driver in our decision making for many years. Our investment in 2013 in biomass CHP was a game changer for us, eliminating our reliance on fossil fuel for our mill’s energy needs overnight. Since then, we have invested in our site energy efficiencies, and we are now delighted to be part of this pioneering project to harvest the biogenic carbon emissions from our operations for subsequent use.’


When asked what this collaboration means for Holmen, Ian said: ‘The work of situating the capture equipment on site and getting it electrically and mechanically installed and ready for start up has been a milestone for the project. The immediate success will be providing captured carbon dioxide at the required purity for the next stage. The planned operational period on our site will be an excellent opportunity to study and learn.’ 




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