Martin MacLeod

The top ten factors in kraft pulp yield
Kraft pulp yield depends on a plethora of factors: the nature of the wood and the quality of the chips, the cooking recipe (especially the key independent variables – alkali charge, sulphidity, temperature, and kappa target), the pulping equipment, and so on. Here, the factors have been assembled into a “top ten” list, and are assessed in terms of relative importance, potential to influence yield values, and contribution to practical knowledge of how pulp yields can be improved. The ten factors can be re-ordered at will, to rank the magnitude of the yield changes they can produce, for example, or to see which factors have the highest potential for yield improvement at modest cost.

Wood species (chemical composition)

Wood anatomy (proportion of fibres)

Chip size distribution

Chip quality (other than size)


Pulping chemistry (conventional)

Kraft Pulp Yield from Wood, %
0 20 40 60 80 100

Modified/advanced pulping chemistry

Mill digester systems

Beyond pulping

Yield/kappa relationship

H a rd wo ods

Wish list

So ft wo ods

Fig. 1. These “top ten” factors in kraft pulp yield are addressed in terms of their relative importance, their potential magnitude, and their reliability.

Fig. 2. On a global basis, bleachable-grade kraft pulp yields from hardwoods and softwoods fall into these ranges. The softwood range can be extended to 60% by including unbleached kraft paper and linerboard grades.


Wood species
Wood, an organic raw material, consists of polysaccharides (cellulose and hemicelluloses), lignin, and extractives. Their concentrations vary substantially among commercial wood species /2,3/: cellulose, approximately

Pulp Yield from Wood, %

the principal factors affecting pulp yields in kraft mills? How comprehensive is our understanding of them? Are there practical ways to use existing knowledge to improve yields? To address these questions, here is a Top Ten list (Fig. 1) of the key factors to consider, followed by brief descriptions of why each is important, what the size of the yield gain might be, and how substantial and reliable the information base is. The focus is on practical opportunities for yield gains in kraft mill operations, tying them to scientific knowledge of cause-and-effect relationships. The broad perspective is two-fold: how wood and chemistry interact in the kraft pulping process, and why uniformity of treatment (whether chemical or mechanical) matters. An anthology of papers on the subject of kraft pulp yield is also available /1/. The ten factors have been assembled in the same order as fibrelines, i.e., from chips through pulping to bleaching. The order can be changed for different purposes, as will be obvious later when they are ranked for magnitude of potential yield gain and also for what is practical to do at modest cost.

40–50% of wood; hemicelluloses, 25–35%; to determine the gross chemical composilignin, 15–30%; extractives, 2–10%. The tion of the wood in use. higher the polysaccharide content (especialThe chemical composition of wood is ly cellulose) and the lower the amounts of probably the primary variable in kraft pulp lignin and extractives, the higher will be the yield. Fig. 3 shows normal yields in convenyield of pulp from wood. Aspen is a leading tional research-scale kraft pulping of speexample – with lignin content often below cies-pure chips to bleachable-grade kappa 20% and (acetone) extractives below 3%, numbers versus their typical lignin contents it cooks rapidly to the highest bleachable- in the wood. This relationship makes reagrade kraft pulp yield in industrial practice, sonable sense: the higher the lignin content typically about 55% at kappa 12. Western – which will be mostly removed in pulping red cedar, with an unusually high extractives – the lower the pulp yield. It is remarkably content, is at the low end of the spectrum, accurate over a yield range of 42–55%: Pulp providing a bleachable-grade pulp yield in yield = - 0.69[Lignin] + 65.8 (r2 = 0.95). the low 40s at kappa 30 /4/. North American wood species are illustratIn commercial kraft pulping prac- ed in Fig. 3, but major commercial species tice worldwide, the typical yield range elsewhere in the world will conform to this (unbleached pulp, in percent from wood) general picture. is about mid-40s to mid-50s for bleachable-grade hardwood pulps, At 15 kappa/HW 1 or 30 kappa/SW and about 40–50 with softwoods 6 0 (Fig. 2). We can widen the softAspen wood range to about 60% by in55 cluding linerboard basestock, the Birch Beech high-kappa end of the kraft pulpMaple 50 Spruce ing spectrum. It is also possible to Jack Pine extend the lower limits of these Balsam Fir Loblolly Pine 45 E Hemlock ranges by invoking the use of sawE Larch E Cedar dust or fines (or decayed wood of 40 any particle size). 15 20 25 30 35 Surprisingly for a worldwide Lignin Content in Wood, % industry which has been in business for many decades, there is Fig. 3. There is a linear relationship between lignin content of no simple, fast, and cheap way wood and probable yield of bleachable-grade kraft pulp.
Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol.89/No. 4/2007 1

The mill on the left achieves excellent control from a chip thickness screening plant with disc screens and slicers. • The anatomy of hardwoods is much more complex and – in some papermaking ways – adverse than that of softwoods. A yield difference of 0.8 45. If yield is defined on the basis of suitable papermaking fibres.Wood anatomy The physical nature of wood also plays an important role in yield. bringing the total yield down to 45. and improved. there are dimensional differences between earlywood and latewood. bringing the hardwood cases much closer to the softwood ones. Moisture content can influence yield values if green wood (rather than dry wood) is the basis for calculation. Pines Fibres only White birch Aspen Sweetgum Fibres and vessel elements 100 Fig. sound wood of suitable thickness Fig. This is compounded by large ranges in the principal wood fibre dimensions: length. each with its own yield potential. But by acknowledging that hardwoods inevitably contain significant amounts of vessel elements. er. Using mass fractions and reasonable assumptions to calculate the fractional yields shown in Fig. loblolly pine kraft pulp fibres can be five times longer than sugar maple fibres. and modern chip thickness screening systems in mills are capable of controlling the thickness range reasonably well. and cell wall thickness /6/. A chip thickness screening plant is a necessary part of a modern kraft pulp mill. Large differences exist among wood species. Of all of these. 5 illustrates two thickness distributions of same-species softwood chips on final delivery to two kraft digesters.3 33.g. significant yield gains can be obtained when pulping only the properly-sized chips. the wider will be the dimensional ranges of length. 4. a more appropriate concept might be the yield of papermaking fibres from wood. and cell wall thickness in the raw material before pulping. different wood species offer very different potential yields. % of wood content 0 20 40 60 80 Spruces D Fir. the danger is in generating rejects. there is a substantial amount of cell material in all woods that is not ideal from a papermaking standpoint. Further.000 t/y more wood = ~ $1. especially in percentage of “fibres” (the preferred cell type for papermaking) versus that of less desirable cells (e. But simply buying and installing such a plant is not enough – it must also be maintained. it can also affect the 3 Chip Thickness. carry a substantial yield penalty. and hence in the kraft pulp which is produced.8%. Thickness distributions are routinely measured in chip classifiers. Greater precision in chip making would help. Fig. these chips gave 46% pulp yield at 25 kappa when only the 2–8 mm fraction (containing 95% of the total mass) was cooked. The penalty will be worse when accounting for wasted volume in the digester occupied by overthick chips. less uniform pulp.000 t more wood (on an oven-dry basis) annually. Chip quality (other than chip size) 2 Papermaking Fibres. the actual total yield from this chip furnish was 45. We can generalize with the following observations: • The higher the percentage of long.7% = ~ 12.7 6. 5. on the order of 1–2%. • The greater the range of wood cell types. 5. and 2–8 mm thick chips are ideal /7/. then softwoods have a large advantage over hardwoods. we can add them back since they are part of the pulp yield. lowering >8mm <2mm <2mm 2-8mm >8mm 2-8mm yield. an unintentional 100 100 change in alkali charge due to an un80 80 seen change in wood moisture might 60 60 penalize pulp yield). the more uniform will be the pulping. Mechanical 40 40 damage to wood fibres can make 20 20 them more susceptible to chemi0 0 cal attack during pulping. only fibre length distribution is routinely measured in the kraft pulping world.. en- hancing the yield of pulp which is ideal for papermaking. In mixed-species chip furnishes. adjusted. At 25 kappa. tested periodically. whether during sawmilling operations or in log chipping. they often don’t. From a papermaker’s perspective. Chip size distribution In chip size. Whether vessel elements are considered “suitable” makes a large difference in the hardwood results.1 % overthick chips in chip furnishes all Yield = 0. in which wood anatomy is much more diverse (Fig. more shives going forward. or the 43. higher alkali consumption. for example. Biological decay. Undersized “chips”. % of total mass efficiency of pulping if the “recipe” changes (e. For example. ray parenchyma in softwoods. Maximizing the 2–8 mm fraction of a chip Any of these factors may represent thickness distribution can significantly improve only a small yield penalty.7 0. If small wood particles can go to a dedicated. From pilot-plant pulping. In this sense. inherently a penalty in mills producing bleachable-grade pulp whether the rejects are re-processed or are removed from the fibreline. separate production line. and between juvenile and mature wood. Sadly. bark.7% may seem rather small.g. and higher bleaching costs. the proportions of the species. softwoods have an advantage due to wood anatomy. narrow fibres are sought. but at a pulp production rate of 1000 tpd the older mill requires 12. they may reduce pulp yield by 2–4%.89/No. Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol. the penalties with the undersized and oversized fractions were more serious. 2 Many yield-related considerations fall into this category.1 Total Yield presence of biological knots and 45. Still. That can easily translate into a cost increase of a million dollars or more a year..2 million/y impair pulp yield relative to fresh. two things are clear – thickness is the principal dimension of concern in kraft pulping. its fractional yield was ten percentage points lower. With oversized chips. narrow fibres (as opposed to any other cell types) in the wood raw material. If only long.1%. togethpulp yield. will affect overall pulp yield.9 1. although they pulp rapidly. 4/2007 . and overthick chips are processed mechanically to make them more amenable to pulping. greater knotter rejects recycling costs. width. diameter. Note that with significantly less 2–8 mm material present.2 5. The older mill on the right had rudimentary chip screening and therefore a much broader thickness distribution. vessel elements in hardwoods) /5/. 4).

4 2 . the higher the vantage over the mill’s normal chips. 5 Effect of Temperature on Pulp Yield Digester A Total yield. increased susceptibility of the polysaccharides to whether associated with the alkaline degradation.3 to good chip pre-steaming PS-AQ Process Chemistry +1. a deficit of 4%. an increase of 6% effective alkali led to a yield loss of 2. 1 0 ter of the mass. Liquor-to-wood ratio can affect logs of uniform growth chosen at the yield in that it has a strong influence on Espanola mill.5%. how sulphidity affects yield is informative. Many aspects of chip quality and pulping greater uniformity of pulping practice offer substantial yield benefits. Maximum temperature of cooking has a major effect on pulp yield – although it speeds up the delignification rate. 6 x 0.0 49 • Pilot-Plant Pulping: Due 48. ideal temperature 46. a 0. there is a 0. The reference chips were made from the the better. Since the trial. pulp yield is about 50% instead. due mainly to the higher proportion of hemicelluloses (especially xylans) and their susceptibility to alkaline attack. it accelerates polysaccharides degradation even more.8 + 5 .5% yield Kappa Number Kappa Number deficit was calculated. both with softwoods and hardwoods (Fig.89/No. and uniformity of of whether reference chips or impregnation and cooking.0 penalty from wood relative to 40 120 60 80 100 20 70 10 50 30 90 110 white birch /4/. mill chips were cooked.5 51. the four factors Fig. 6. Obviously. % Fig. the yield plateau at 54% comes at 30% sulphidity. By contrast.0. mill chips) control. with birch (at a kappa target of 25). 7). ON. 9. Lower extractives content is also stemwood of middle-aged white birch desirable.7 Digester B 43.6% at 11% effective alkali.0 17. all other factors held constant. and 30% >6 mm. 4/2007 . 54. the 51% pulp yield plateau is at ~40% sulphid5 Screened Yield. cellulose-to-hemicellulose ratio in the wood.3 .5%) regardless fines and oversized particles.5 45 45 20. With pine at 55 kappa number. kraft mill /8/: Four aspects of kraft pulping. An independent example with kraft pulping of aspen to 15 kappa showed these results: total yield of 55. note that pulping rate is much slower as well. % 50 EA. accounting for a 3% yield ad. % Total Yield. Although not particularly important in industrial kraft pulping (the majority of which is done at or above 30% sulphidity). Alkali charge plays a major role in pulp yield illustrated here added up to a – the higher the charge. At 0% sulphidity. and 52.1 1 . and were measured (Fig. the lower the yield.centage points. 5 Wood Species +0. kraft pulping affect kraft pulp yield is clearly removing 41% of the raw material is explained in Kleppe’s classic paper “Kraft 4 Components of Pulp Yield Gain Pulping” /9/. % Difference in TY.5 chip thickness screening and 53. just as predicted (i. 55 55 Taking maple as one-quarEA.e. providing that it is at the plateau level of 30% or above (this is true for the majority of kraft mills).1 . and therefore the time during which the polysaccharides (especially was 2–6 mm. 8.5 17. low sulfidity.0 ing this fraction a 2% yield 20. and heartwood most dangerous for inferior yield.8% yield at 17% EA. Overall. 53. but decreasing the overthick fraction substantially White Birch 55 would help.not a practical thing to do.. removal of advantage (1. 3 Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol. The problem is three times worse with hardwoods. • Best Mill Chips: When only the 2–6 mm hemicelluloses) are degraded by alkaline thick fraction of mill chips was used in attack.have higher pulp yields (and faster deligniing.5% yield ferent from softwood lignin. Higher alkali charge decreases pulp yield at a given kappa number.5 overthick chip crushing have 51.3 53 Pilot-Plant Pulping +1. and accounts gain was measured relative to whole mill for part of the reason why hardwoods often chips. 7.3 Fig. high lignin content in the wood are the knots. The mill chips had an average thick. Hardwood lignin is chemically difpilot-plant experiments. 6): • Reference Chips: The removal of all bark. due to potential yield gain of 5.8 Best Mill Chips +0. resulted in a significant yield including original wood quality.5% EA.7%. decayed wood.45%). trial to implement Paprilox® polysulphideanthraquinone pulping of hardwood in Conventional pulping chemistry conventional batch digesters at Domtar’s Among the primary independent variables Espanola. Again from Kleppe /9/. potenprovided ideal chips for kraft pilot-plant tially reducing the value by several perpulping. and homogeneity of 45 impregnation and cooking in small research digesters. high alkali charge.4 % yield at 13.3 been installed on the hard51 wood side at Espanola.15% penalty in yield. and their thickness range pulping rate. Reference Chips +3. Achieving best performyield with respect to chip quality was part ance in all of these factors significantly imof hanging basket experiments in a mill proves pulp yield. Fig. Sulphidity has a minor effect. % Effect of Sulphidity on Pulp Yield 56 54 1h 52 2h 3h Birch (kappa 25) Pine (kappa 55) 1h 2h 50 3h 48 0 10 20 30 40 50 Sulphidity. % 45. whether in kraft or PS-AQ pulp. and assign15. high maximum temperature. kraft baseline yield or with A comprehensive examination of pulp the PS-AQ yield.0. % 50 5 . Thus.5 47 practice. % Ascribed to chips Ascribed to EA Yield Loss due to Tmax. For every 1% increase in effective alkali charge (NaOH basis) with softwoods. 5 • Wood Species : Species analysis of basket pulps from Effect of Alkali Charge on Pulp Yield mill “birch” chips showed 60 60 Mixed Southern that they actually contained Hardwoods Pi n e 24% maple on average. How the main independent variables of ness classification of 11% < 2 mm.8 KRAFT BASELINE (Hanging baskets. a 0. % Total Yield.fication rates). 59% 2-6 mm.

including tage in selectivity (although the main benefit a 90-minute ramp of 1°C/min to cook. In both cases.7%. Forced liquor circulation begin everywhere inside the chips when they in mill digesters is a means to try to overare taken to delignification temperature.Yield gain (brownstock).ity. 4/2007 . Liquor displacement batch systems can improve yield over conventional batch systems (as measured by hanging baskets) by 1–2% /10/.seems to be better preservation of cellulose ing temperature for graceful impregnation. 175°C max.8 2 .1 0.2 Fig. It is no surprise that the best nishes from a mill operating M&D digesters liquor displacement batch digesters have /16/. 79% 2–8 mm chips and 14% > 8 mm chips. 11. The difference in total yield at kappa number 30 was 2. anthraquinone. At 0% sulphidity.g. % ~20 ~30 contact time with atmospheric steam (15+ minutes). a deficit of 3%. B: 19. 6 Yield Gain with Anthraquinone 1 2 Add AQ Reduce H 3 Add AQ Reduce AA Mixed SW Total Yield Kraft baseline Kappa AA. Although not in use industrially because of its slow delignification rate and complex chemical recovery issues. 11). Again. regimes. % 5 6 Advanced batch and continuous Unbleached brightness 35 gain. % H-factor Yield. In general. the result is yield penalty. an astonishing possibility emerges. Together. such as alkali sulphite-AQ pulping /14.5 0. or polysulfide. some yield benefits have accrued. pulp yield is 48%. fostered longer and slower delignification Even when starting with tiny sawdust-sized in continuous digesters and more effective wood particles.9 15. 10. 163°C maximum. This case shows that extreme im- Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol.1%. integrity). then bulk liquor good kraft pulping.8 0. the yield deficit due to the 12°C higher maximum temperature in Digester B was 1.89/No. 6 Mill digester systems Modified pulping chemistry The era of modified kraft pulping (originally called extended delignification) which began in the 1980s was founded on chemical principles intended to make kraft pulping more selective for delignification over polysaccharide degradation.1 0 2350 42. When adjusted for the differences attributable to chip thickness distribution and applied effective alkali. two chip furnishes from the same wood species were being delivered to two continuous digesters. Combined with appropriate changes in mill digesters.impregnation. 9. The research knowledge is extensive and deep /12/. all of these factors can improve meaning that the screened pulp yield rose pulp yields by several percentage points. Case A had 86% 2-8 mm chips and 7% > 8 mm chips.Fig. A recent implementation of PS-AQ pulping of hardwoods demonstrated that the change from kraft resulted in a yield gain 4 Yield Gain with Alkaline Sulphite-AQ Digester equipment considerations can have a big influence on yield in kraft pulping.6 0 30 30 30 17. Yield gain (bleached). Both provide an inherent advanconditions designed for chips. and kappa target. sulphidity. % Yi el d Gain . evidence for a universal yield benefit with modified kraft pulping equipment is scanty. impregnation with white liquor is done with Good impregnation is always a key to good temperature control. It needs to be long circulation through the cooking chip colenough (usually 30+ minutes) and at a low umn inside a steam-jacketed 20L digester enough temperature (120° ± 5°C) to ensure is not vital in producing kraft pulp of high that the liquid-phase chemistry is ready to yield and quality. Sulphidity needs to be at or above 30% for optimum yield and rate reasons.10 2350 44.* From aspen: total yield of 65% at kappa 18 a world record? gester systems have either no delib. then. or both) can improve pulp yields by about 1–3%. But when we used conventional kraft digesters. Continuous digesters with multiple white liquor inputs and black liquor extractions appear to offer a yield advantage – particularly with hardwoods – of up to 4% /11/. come temperature and chemical concen12 illustrates results from kraft pilot-plant tration gradients created during filling and experiments on two softwood sawdust fur. Modifying kraft pulping with additives (e. including alkali charge. % Kappa number +10 +6 ing and liquor impregnation steps. 10 shows an example /13/. by 2%. of about 2% whether measured by hanging baskets in the mill or in pilot-plant pulping using the chips and cooking liquors from the mill /8/ (see also Fig.side them /10/. plenty of rejects were gener. the pulping rate decreases significantly with lower sulphidity. the rejects decreased by about two-thirds. its strategy of use needs to be based on optimizing all the key factors in kraft delignification. pulp yield is directly related to sulphidity. but most di. astounding yield gains over kraft. To achieve maximum benefits with AQ. 6). Case B. In the case shown in Fig. Alkaline sulphite-AQ pulping offers erate pre-steaming or not enough.15/. The maximum temperature of pulping is also important for yield. and both additives have been used for the past 30 years in mills scattered around the world. but not in a linear manner. AS-AQ pulping can provide yield gains of 5–10% (Fig. Especially HW SW 6 10* important are the chip pre-steam. however. leading to more heterogeneous that if chips are thoroughly pre-steamed and delignification and inferior yield. Occasionally.).10 2000 43. When air removal and water saturation of the inner void spaces pregnation conditions can carry a significant in wood chips are inadequate. No other industrially-feasible process chemistry change can do better. Optimal anthraquinone’s effectiveness as a kraft pulping additive depends on the strategy of use vis-à-vis other primary variables such as alkali charge and sulphidity. They were pulped in a pilot-plant digester at process conditions taken from the two mill digesters (A: 18. % I SO 20 digesters do an effective job of chip Bleaching chemical pre-steaming by providing enough consumption increase.impregnation in liquor displacement batch ated. but the even when it is a combination process is burdened by slow a delignification of atmospheric and low-pressure rate and chemical recovery is complex. depending on the scenario..5% effective alkali. % 17. a less-than-perfect liquid environment for Pilot-plant experiments have also shown pulping. The M&D operations were simulated the lowest measured kappa variability inby combining the sawdust and cooking liq.1% EA. An obvious advantage with AQ is that it can work in all types of kraft digesters – no equipment changes are required. Fig. % AQ. uor in bombs and driving the temperature The era of modified kraft pulping has to 185°C as fast as possible (~ 10 minutes). Fig.

some caveats. and kappa range of commercial kraft pulping 1. so there is much less room hence greater selectivity for lignin removal bleaching actually does.94 48 tion phase starting from about • For the lowest three yields. the slope is about 0. The kraft lower slope means better selectivity during an excessive alkali charge is the greater risk.10. 0. There is. In all three cases. of a softwood line to ~30 ka.98 Kraft Pulping of kraft pulping).has its price! Fig. this is chemically close to what ECF about 12–18. When a typical yield/kappa line for kraft pulping of tion of pulp fibres through these areas of a removing residual lignin later a softwood is separated into parts.06kappa + 45. Three linear regressions ppa is 0. and ECF bleaching done at five H-factors (the highest one was excessive rejects. Kraft-AQ Kraft Kraft Kraft-AQ Conventional M&D Conventional M&D able-grade mills.15 ± ~0.0% SY from biological knots) being tion phase.increase the slope rapidly.11(kappa) + 42. 14. which covers almost the whole 1. 13 provides a duplicated).3 r2 = 0.highest kappa level. rejects generation. 13) requires 4.95 50 Theoretical (lignin only) lines.0 0. for unintentional overpulping.99 which can’t be changed eas. Common examples cies.terials need to be minimized Yield/kappa relationship – they are proof of inadequate The typical yield/kappa relationship for kraft upstream process conditions.99 is for a softwood with a pulp aim for the end of the bulk delignification 40 yield of 47% at kappa 30. 13. smaller than those in pulping. of course.0 +1.0 uniform. offering less 40 opportunity to improve yield substantially • Raising the kappa target of 15 25 35 45 55 pulping lifts the whole picby process changes. % 2 Pulp Yield. This is a the yield/kappa relationships spruce/pine/fir case in which pilot-plant Fig.bleachable-grades. and any physical 46 is lost.can be calculated: 8 woods to ~15 kappa.5 final screen rejects being re.12(kappa) + 41. and the entire kappa range is bleaching have progressively lower slopes. losses of fibres in the progression of operaTotal • The yield gap widens in fations along a fibreline. With softwoods. The 2.99 represents the bulk delignifica0. for hard.09kappa + 44. Both are straight 0.1 r =0.kraft pulping has a significant effect on pulp Oxygen Delignification 42 ily. residual delignification phase will begin to respectively. translating it into higher For kraft pulping.5 and they make the pulp less tercept which is strongly related to wood spe3. the slope screened yield equals total yield at all but the pulp yield. notwithto avoid unnecessary mechanical degradastanding the higher cost of Fig. due to “leakage” of fibrous debris.9 5 number decreases. seeking kappa targets below the high 20s inevitably sacrifices any recycles of unacceptable fibrous mayield by entering the residual delignification phase. Screened Yield 44 Yield vour of oxygen delignificaThe yield losses accompanying oxygen LR for all 6 TY points tion over pulping as kappa delignification and ECF bleaching are much 42 T Y = 0 .2 r =0. But attention is required Kappa Number ture to higher yield. it becomes clear that mill’s fibreline so as not to lose yield solely in the process line.0 r2 = 0. total yield = Yield/Kappa Relationship Beyond Pulping is the same. phase without falling into the residual phase. sacrificing yield ships need to be remembered: Yield beyond pulping • There are non-linear conse9 Slope of Yield/Kappa Line quences for yield when either Three main considerations apply here: the pulping or oxygen delignifichemical selectivity of oxygen delignification LR for highest 4 points 50 T Y = 0 . and is a fact This demonstrates that where you stop 44 LR for highest 4 points TY=0. The use of over polysaccharide degradation. pulping (as illustrated in Fig. % Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol. only bleachable-grade pulping.9 r2 = 0. and pulping conditions. % 2 2 Pulp Yield.5 are knotter rejects (especially straight line represents the bulk delignifica2. enhancement.8% SY +2. of pulping. point with softwoods is at about kappa 40. 2 2 k a p p a + 3 8 . prior to oxygen delignification or bleaching and extends down to perhaps kappa 15 be.kraft pulping of 2–8 mm thick chips was inferior impregnation conditions lead to fication. the uniLR for lowest 3 points tical kappa limit where the formity of the fibrous pulp passing through T Y = 0 . total yield = LR for 5 points TY=0.05. 14 amplifies the meaning of a speVersion Version Version Version It is instructive to examine cific yield/kappa relationship.23kappa + 40.0 they add to processing costs. the onset of the danger zones below about kappa 20 and 15.9 4 cation is taken below its pracand chlorine dioxide bleaching. the right direction for yield At the low-kappa end. 3 r 2 = 0 . Also. oxygen delignification. oxygen deligni. the slope • For all six total yield values.22(kappa) + 38. 9 r 2 = 0 .2 r =0.89/No. Several aspects of yield/kappa relation.9 8 48 selectivity for lignin removal the chemical operations. 0 r 2 = 0 . Fig. 1 2 k a p p a + 4 1 . With final With hardwoods. and ECF lignin removal.Being seduced by ever lower kappa numbers Kappa Number tion. good pre-steaming and together. the idea is to LR for highest 5 points TY=0. chip size. 1 1 k a p p a + 4 2 . 30 40 20 10 With oxygen delignifica. Even with sawdust-sized wood particles.from high-kappa linerboard base stock to 0 fined and recycled in bleach. a yield inSW sawdust 3. the line • For the highest four yields. 7 Lower Rejects with Better Impregnation Screen Rejects. total yield = 46 100 kappa (the high-yield end 0. pulping and oxygen delignification lines enter lignin removal. For bleachable grades. 4/2007 5 .5 A B recycled to digesters /17/. 12. The kraft case in Figure 13 yield. The yield/kappa lines of kraft fore beginning a steeper fall /18/. Because the fibre liberation conventional impregnation significantly reduce generic softwood case. in theory the slope is about pulp is made.05. Fig.

10 A Short Wish List Lignin-free trees Extractives-free trees Hardwoods with no vessel elements CTS plants which perform to specifications (and receive regular audits) Practical working knowledge of kraft pulping chemistry a qualification for digester operators Fig. 4/2007 . 3. moving argument applies. 7 Improve pre-steaming. despite the further slow decrease in kappa number. that is not the case. the linear regression suggests that the lignin-free case has a Y-intercept of 66%. In fact. Magnitude of Change Wood species SW to HW S W to SW H W t o HW AS-AQ vs. and it should be known for every mill operation. including any proposed use of pulping additives. 16. perhaps. and close avoid dealing with extractives at all. When ranked according to magnitude of potential yield gain. It is also good to have a strong The wood would be denser. this based on magnitude of yield gain. liver 1–3% yield gains: additives such as • Extractives-free trees: The same general anthraquinone and polysulphide. conventional kraft SW HW A dd o xy ge n de l ign ifi c ati on Improve impregnation a n d c ook ing uni for mi ty 14% 8% 7% 6 Factors 1 2 6% 10% 6 3% 3% 2% 2% 8 7 Fig. great business in by-products from ex. in order of increasing cost: so digesters tend to be treated foremost • Get out – and stay out – of the residual as mechanical entities. work. Minimize the fines going to worth of pulp per year? Standards are pulping. The same Practical To Do At Modest Cost is true in hardwood mills going from Factors maples to aspen. and current process targets may to do this. Often. nor work re-processing of them). and printing. This relationship is a crucial aspect of every kraft pulping scenario. there plenty of opportunities for improvement. more uniform. S. mininal specifications for segregating and mization of rejects from pulping (and the controlling chip dimensions. cooking at lower temperatures plants don’t come close to their origi. cumulative /17/. Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol. Because there is no to advanced modes of digester operation. it is always useful to imagine how it could be made better. it is possible to rank bers by species from R&D work done the factors in a variety of ways. or your sulfidity too low. Substantial yield improvements would come from all of these items. providing command of existing knowledge and apply higher pulp yield per unit volume of it to the technical details of good kraft pulpdigester space. but only briefly Get full performance from CTS plant 3 and confined to two mills. attention to the quality of chips being fed • Hardwoods without vessel elements: to a digester. 17.89/No. papermaking. efficient fibre spill consistently well in cold-weather loca. Tmax 5 perspective. and by how much. and deal effectively with the much stricter in many other lines of (small) fraction of overthick material. When ranked according to what is practical so exciting. 15. softwood yield to the highest hardwood one Process creep can occur over the long (Figs.are a lot of opportunities which can derently obtained commercially. it would be nice to higher kappa target after pulping). and the pulp would be ing practice. It should be done routinely when any significant changes are made in chip furnishes and cooking recipes. such information is determined in research-scale pulping. from the far-fetched to the practical: • Lignin-free trees: In Factor 1.oxygen delignification (especially with a tractives any more. the top ten factors offer operating in some mills. There pulp yield at modest cost with the equipis usually no certification of personal ment you have today? The items are listed knowledge of the chemistry of pulping. 17 is an attempt at reality operators is not as good as it should be – what can you do in a kraft mill to improve (especially in North America). but feasible and to do at a modest cost. But in the northern boreal forlose their connections to the original est zone.Optimize for best species in a mixture duction could be interesting from a yield Optimize pulping recipe for EA. 16 provide yield gains of 3% or less – not Fig. its use in linerboard pro. business? • Push continually to increase your best Having assembled this Top Ten list for species for yield. For • Make sure that your alkali charge and example. Very few options offer individual gains above 3%. Know the real numkraft pulping yield. 6 far higher than any kraft pulp yield cur. While the first three remain intractable. yield gains are possible.collection. for the operation of chemically complex • Make your CTS plant perform to maxisystems worth upwards of $100 million mize the 2–8 (or 9 or 10) mm thick that produce tens of billions of dollars fraction. including regular continuing edBuy or make chips with a narrower disucation plus re-testing. Fig. slow pulping 6 rate and complex chemical recovery are Add AQ serious hurdles to overcome. 16 does on your wood sources. conventional kraft SW HW PS-AQ vs. ter chip making and dimensional control. • Working knowledge: Training of digester Finally. Because the residual lignin is more resistant to delignification while the polysaccharides continue to degrade. Figure 15 lists some possibilities. the last two are possible today. and tight process control of oxytions. Is this satisfactory delignification phase. No mill has the wood basket term. impregnation regimes Most of the opportunities in Fig. Overthick chip processing spans gen delignification and bleaching. In the right 1 2 circumstances. 2 and 3). Fig. going from spruces to aspen. Fig. improved pre-steaming and impregnation • Chip thickness screening: Most CTS practices.for longer times wherever possible. coating. Research the range from very good to abysmal demonstrates that impressive. allowing improvements Enhanced yields can also come from betin stock refining. Unfortunately. 9 Alkaline sulphite-AQ pulping has Stay out of residual delignification phase been done industrially. the top ten factors emerge in this order. the selectivity of kraft pulping becomes progressively worse – the slope of the line becomes steeper. To obtain accurate numbers. a 7–8% yield gain is routine when reasons for change. a bleachable-grade kraft swing maximum temperature of cooking don’t mill could gain 14% going from the lowest creep too high. Wish list Although industrial kraft pulping practice has changed slowly and incrementally over the years. Why not in our tribution of thickness.

B. Chapter 2. eds. MacLeod. J. Happy kraft pulping! References 1. Uloth.: Alkaline sulphite-anthraquinone pulps from aspen. M. MacLeod. J. Session 1. Leopold... ed. p. Hakkila. p. J. 1999. K. Gullichsen and H. and kappa target. Gullichsen. 3rd edition. Montreal/Atlanta. Volume 6A. Notes of PAPTAC Kraft Pulping Course. 2.: Displacement vs. Atlanta.89/No. CPPA-TAPPI. Atlanta/Helsinki. Volume 2. losing some of it in an early black liquor extraction. Tikka. Papermaking Science and Technology. Gullichsen and H. Leopold.: Crushing: Is this any way to treat overthick softwood chips for kraft pulping? Pulp Paper Can 106(2):44 (2005).-A. Volume 5. A27–28. sulphidity. P. Kraft Pulp Yield Anthology (CD-ROM). 7. • Do anything you can to improve chip pre-steaming.M. J. May 17. Tench. 3. This paper was adapted from a presentation at the TAPPI Growing Pulp Yield from the Ground Up Symposium. 4/2007 7 . GA. Grace. p. eds. Martin MacLeod is a teacher. 6. 9.-A. A. 11. and technical consultant on kraft pulping. QC. D. 600 pages... Paulapuro.. Kingsland.M. Papermaking Science and Technology.M. J. eds.W. J. Optimize impregnation by ensuring that the ingredients you put in your digester are the best you can provide. P. Pulp & Paper Manufacture Series. Chapter 2. 1999. TAPPI. Process Variables. Tremblay. Goyal. Anthraquinone Pulping: a TAPPI PRESS Anthol- ogy of Published Papers. F.M. Dort. E. 82. Chapter 4. p.. J Pulp Paper Sci 13(2):J44 (1987). 1990–2001. T.M. Gullichsen. Atlanta. L. TAPPI/Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association. 2006 (Typical Yields of Kraft Pulps)... G. Session 6. 2002 Kraft Pulp Yield Workshop Preprints.O. Atlanta/Helsinki. Chapter 5. MacLeod. T.: Kraft Pulping.M. 4. T.: Improving kraft pulp yield with anthraquinone and polysulphide: science and strategy. CPPA-TAPPI. Tappi J 69(8):106 (1986).143. p. J. 90–96. Joint Textbook Committee of the Paper Industry.. Session 3. GA. Bissette. A146.: Alkaline Sulphite-Anthraquinone Pulps from Softwoods. 2006 (LoSolids® Pulping).. Kleppe. 100 published papers. 17. ibid. Papermaking Science and Technology. 1997. 1989. Process Variables. Chapter 5. 13. in Alkaline Pulping. Volume 6A. Joint Textbook Committee of the Paper Industry. Ottawa. TAPPI/Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association. 18.. Notes of PAPTAC Kraft Pulping Course. Gullichsen and H. 2006. Don’t waste it by adding too much. MacLeod.. Atlanta. and Malcolm.M. GA. Munro. Grace. Kovasin. E.. QC. 12. J. 1989. 15. TAPPI.C. new Tappi J 1(8):3 (2002).. Atlanta. in Chemical Pulping. 16..: Kraft Pulping: Connecting Theory to Industrial Practice. 14.141–150. K. and Malcolm. or failing to recognize trade-offs with other primary factors such as alkali charge. Paperi ja Puu 72(8):773 (1990). October 23-25.: Fiber Line Operations. V.• Anthraquinone? It is probably the simplest quick fix for yield gain if you can afford it. 5.J . K. MacLeod. 10. p. J. conventional batch kraft pulping: delignification patterns and pulp strength delivery. J. phone + 1 613 5264798. P. Don’t exceed what the chemistry can actually do. 184x133mm Paperi ja Puu – Paper and Timber Vol. TAPPI/Finnish Paper Engineers’ Association. TAPPI.. GA. eds.: Fibre Line Operations. MacLeod. Young. Radiotis. 8. Lebel. D. Tappi J 73(1):191 (1990). J.. Paulapuro.. e-mail the. Atlanta/Helsinki.A.W.M. J. He can be reached at: 150 Sawmill Private. B.. Pointe-Claire.K. Paper 6-1.: Structure and Properties of Wood and Woody Biomass. Paulapuro. in Alkaline Pulping. P.J.: Continuous Digester Operations.: Kraft-AQ pulping of sawdust. Tappi J 53(1):35 (1970). in Chemical Pulping.macleods@sympatico. ON K1V 2E1 Canada. Volume 5. Pointe-Claire. Montreal/Atlanta. go to an advanced batch or continuous digester system and advanced oxygen delignification.. eds. Kreft.C. 3rd edition.. Pulp & Paper Manufacture Series. J.M. • And if the opportunity comes.. October 23–25. 1998.... MacLeod.: Basket cases IV: Higher yield with Paprilox® polysulphide-AQ pulping of hardwoods. writer.