Voith, a technology company for the pulp and paper industry, has announced the launch of a new research project in collaboration with other industry and research partners.

The project, titled ‘Framework fOr Resource, Energy, Sustainability Treatment (FOREST)’, received initial approval from the project management organisation Jülich on 1 April this year.

It is being funded by the German government’s Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, under its 7th Energy Research Programme.

Other participating industry and research partners involved in FOREST include ABB, Modellfabrik Papier, Sappi Ehingen, the Paper Technology Foundation, the Institute of Textile Technology at RWTH Aachen University, NOWUM-Energy Institute at FH-Aachen University of Applied Sciences, and the chair of Wood Technology and Fiber Materials Technology at TU Dresden.

The project will also involve support from several associated partners such as WEPA Group, Felix Schoeller, and Schoellershammer.

The research effort aims to develop a digital framework for optimising energy and material flows within the paper production process.

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Voith explained that the project’s primary objective is to create a ‘fully comprehensive digital map for papermaking processes’, which can help in capturing energy and material flows along with carbon dioxide (CO₂) flows and footprints down to the subprocess and subproduct levels.

Once developed, this digital framework will help in optimising various opportunities to promote a targeted acceleration that will drive the paper industry towards climate neutrality.

Voith said that as an example, the framework will allow associated stakeholders to determine the optimum settings for minimised CO₂ emissions while also estimating the advantages of rebuilding measures in advance.

Currently, the project team is working on determining the requirements and interfaces for the development of the new framework. The project’s partners will also derive a requirements catalogue.

Under the next step, Voith will work together with its research partners to conduct an initial test of the framework on various pilot installations.