Technological Centre

We monitor the production of nanocellulose from recycled paper

SYSPRO leads the REPACELL project with the aim of obtaining cellulose micro/nanoparticles from recycled paper/cardboard in an automated and optimized way.

CETIM collaborate in the processes for obtaining systematized and automated nanocellulose fibers through sensorization and digital twin.

Currently there is an increasing demand for new products of high technological value and environmentally sustainable. In this sense, nanotechnology is attracting increasing interest due to its promising possibilities and applications in a wide range of disciplines. Thus, nanocellulose has become one of the most promising raw materials due to its multiple applications derived from properties such as its large surface area, high reactivity, firmness, hydrophilicity and lightness, which, together with its abundance and totally biological origin -derived from wood- make it the ideal raw material for a wide variety of industrial applications.

REPACELL: revalorization of recycled paper/cardboard 
Being aware of the need to develop new clean technologies together with the growing demand of the industrial sector, the REPACELL project arises in which SYSPRO, hand in hand with CETIM, are collaborating with the aim of obtaining micro/nanoparticles of cellulose from cellulose pulp from recycled paper and cardboard, in order to include them in the production of new recycled papers, improving their properties. Thus, recycled paper and cardboard will be both the starting raw material for obtaining micro/nanocellulose and the final product on which the micro/nanocellulose obtained will be applied, in a clear example of circular economy.

At present, the process of obtaining nanocellulose is carried out discontinuously, which implies a high economic and time cost, and it is necessary to automate and optimize it. The process of obtaining nanocellulose proposed in REPACELL, revolves around the study of the key parameters at each stage for automation and in obtaining cellulose nanofibers suitable for application in new improved papers that overcome the limitations encountered during the recycling process, improving their mechanical properties and coming from the revaluation of a waste source.

Systematized and automated production of nanocellulose fibers
Started in 2020, REPACELL is in full implementation. With more than half of the project developed, promising results are being obtained.

SYSPRO is in charge of industrial scale-up, process engineering, automation and control systems, sensor systems, robotics and artificial vision.

For our part, CETIM, thanks to our expertise in lignocellulosic materials, we are finishing the laboratory phase in which we are researching and developing processes for obtaining systematized and automated nanocellulose fibers from recycled paper and cardboard and their incorporation in the reinforcement of new recycled papers to provide them with superior properties.

In addition, to carry out the modelling of the nanocellulose production process, from our digital industry area, we regulate and control the conditions for obtaining the micro/nanoparticles of cellulose by means of sensorization, and we are also responsible for obtaining a Digital Twin that allows us to monitor and replicate the operation of the process in a virtual environment.

Once the nanoparticles have been obtained, we will examine their applicability in the improvement of recycled paper in order to corroborate the validity of the developments and thus close the cycle in an environment linked to the circular economy.

Thus, the REPACELL project will focus on the development processes for obtaining cellulose nanofibers, fully systematized, sensorized and automated, from the revaluation of waste paper and cardboard, to be used as an element of improvement in the production of higher quality recycled papers. Therefore, recycled paper and cardboard will present a double aspect, being on the one hand the raw material for obtaining micro/nanocellulose, and on the other hand, the micro/nanocellulose obtained could be used to reinforce these papers and provide them with greater applicability and better properties.