An activated sludge process is an effective tool against effluent emissions in a pulp mill. It has only a few features which can be regarded deficiences. One of them is that effluent treatment of a modern pulp mill creates some 10-20 tonnes dry solids of biosludge per day. This sludge is difficult to burn due to its high moisture content. The most common way is to mix biosludge with primary sludge, to dewater the mixture in presses and finally to burn it in a solid fuel boiler. This type of sludge treatment incurs rather high costs and does not produce any net energy. Also combustion emissions vary depending on the boiler type.
The Metsä-Botnia Kemi Pulp Mill was the first mill in the world to burn biosludge in a recovery boiler. The system start-up was in 1993 and it has been in operation ever since.
Mechanically dewatered biosludge is mixed with weak black liquor and concentrated in a conventional evaporation plant equipped with a pressurized superconcentrator unit. In a modern recovery boiler, firing conditions are well controlled and monitored. Better emission control than in most bark fired boilers is achieved.
Accumulation of nonprocess elements, corrosion, plugging, scaling and some other operational problems were expected. A lot of experience has been gathered during the years of operation and reviewed in this presentation. The achieved benefits of the system are discussed.
Disposal of biosludge in a recovery boiler offers an economically and environmentally attractive alternative. Probably the best evidence from this is the fact that Metsä-Botnia has applied the same process solution in the recent reconstruction of the recovery departments at the Jouteno Mill.