(401d) Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Peracetic Acid Application in the Pulp and Paper Industry | AIChE

(401d) Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Peracetic Acid Application in the Pulp and Paper Industry


Echeverria, D. - Presenter, North Carolina State University
Venditti, R., North Carolina State University
Jameel, H., North Carolina State University
Yao, Y., Yale University
Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of Peracetic Acid Application in the Pulp and Paper Industry

Darlene Echeverria, Richard Venditti, Hasan Jameel and Yuan Yao

Department of Forest Biomaterials, NC State University.

Raleigh, NC 27607, USA


The global pulp and paper industry reached a new production high of 406.5 million tons of paper and paperboard in 2016, with China and the United States being the world’s leading producers (RISI |, 2015). The large-scale production of pulp and paper generates a significant amount of waste and emissions, and is one of the most environmentally regulated sectors in the U.S., driving the development of new technologies to reduce the environmental footprints. As the bleaching process is one of the largest contributors to a mill's water consumption and wastewater discharge, intensive efforts have been made by the industry and academia in past decades to improve this process. Two main bleaching technologies dominate pulp and paper production. As of 2012, 93% of the worldwide chemical pulp was produced with the Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) bleaching process which utilizes chlorine dioxide as its main bleaching agent, while about 5% was produced with the Total Chlorine-Free (TCF) which uses Peracetic Acid (PAA) (AET, 2012). Compared to other agents, PAA does not produce toxic by-products while still having a high selectivity in removing lignin, and brightens pulp to industry requirements. Though PAA is regarded as a more environmentally friendly bleaching agents because of these characteristics, few studies have quantified the overall environmental impacts of PAA production and its application in a bleaching process.

This work quantifies the environmental impacts of PAA as a bleaching agent by developing two comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)s. The first LCA assesses the cradle-to-gate environmental impacts of PAA produced by different technology pathways and feedstocks. The second LCA compares the cradle-to-gate environmental impacts of pulp production using PAA bleaching and conventional ECF process. Experimental work is conducted to test the performance of PAA as a bleaching agent in achieving the same brightness of pulp that are produced by traditional bleaching agents.

The results of this study will enhance decision-making towards more sustainable PAA production and its use in bleaching pulp. From an end-user perspective, a quantitative analysis of the potential environmental benefits of utilizing PAA may foster partnerships between PAA suppliers and the pulp and paper industry. This may further result in the development of more sustainable production methods and supply chains. Finally, the results of this work may shed light on the potential and practical applications of PAA for a reduction of environmental impacts in other industries beyond pulp and paper.


AET, (Alliance for Environmental Technology). (2012). Trends in World Bleached Pulp Chemical Pulp Production 1990-2012. Retrieved from http://www.aet.org/science_of_ecf/eco_risk/2013_pulp.html

RISI |. (2015). Pulp and Paper Industry Intelligence. Retrieved from https://www.risiinfo.com/press-release/global-production-of-paper-and-bo...