Ahlstrom-Munksjö and Via Separations partner with the U.S. Department of Energy to enable energy efficiency


The Ahlstrom-Munksjö Mosinee plant in Wisconsin is teaming up with Via Separations to pilot a cutting edge energy efficiency project. Together, they are validating Via Separations’ Black Liquor Concentration System, which is driven by an innovation in membrane material and system design.

Black liquor is the byproduct from the kraft process when digesting pulpwood into paper pulp removing lignin and other extractives from the wood, to free the cellulose fibers and allow for the papermaking process to occur. The new system will reduce energy requirements for this process, increase mill throughput, and increase production of coproducts which are used as a heating source for the plant. 

“In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Industrial Technology Validation program and Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Via Separations is proud to support this trial. We can reduce the resource requirement per unit of pulp produced by implementing a step change process intensification,” said Shreya Dave, CEO of Via Separations. "At commercial scale, the technology has the potential to provide a 64% decrease in energy demand in the evaporator process."

“Our team is motivated by enabling pathways for a more sustainable, resource efficient future and is thrilled to work with incredible partners like Ahlstrom-Munksjö to initiate this future,” Dave continued. “Together, we are implementing innovative, first-of-their kind filtration systems to enhance efficiency, reduce energy expenditures, and drive production throughput.”

“Our Wisconsin plants have been involved with the Department of Energy’s Better Plants program for many years, and this new project is yet another example of our commitment to continuous innovation and sustainability,” explained Steve Myers, Vice President of Operations for Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Wisconsin facilities. “By integrating this new technology we hope to set an example for further energy consumption research within the paper industry.” 

“To achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, we must rapidly scale-up the development and deployment of clean-energy technologies by American manufacturers,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Kelly Speakes-Backman. “By bringing these emerging technologies out of the laboratory and onto the factory floor, DOE’s Industrial Technology Validation program moves us one step closer to commercializing the innovations that will make our clean energy future possible.”

The trial begins at the Mosinee, Wisconsin plant this July and the teams will continue to validate results and will report findings through the Department of Energy. 

For more details or questions, please contact:
Addie Teeters, Head of Marketing Communications & Public Affairs, Ahlstrom-Munksjö North America Specialty Solutions, +1 920 202 445 5114, addie.teeters@ahlstrom-munksjo.com    

Ahlstrom-Munksjö in brief:
Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a global leader in fiber-based materials, supplying innovative and sustainable solutions to its customers. Our mission is to expand the role of fiber-based solutions for sustainable everyday life. Our offering includes filter materials, release liners, food and beverage processing materials, decor papers, abrasive and tape backings, electrotechnical paper, glass fiber materials, medical fiber materials, diagnostics and energy storage solutions, as well as a range of specialty papers for industrial and consumer end-uses. Our annual net sales is about EUR 2.7 billion and we employ some 7,800 people. Read more at www.ahlstrom-munksjo.com. 

About Via Separations:
Based in Watertown, MA & spun out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Via Separations eliminates energy use in industrial processes, enabling pathways for a more sustainable, resource efficient future. With its core filtration technology, Via has applications across industrial manufacturing. Via is a venture-backed company with investors such as The Engine, Safar Partners, Prime Impact Fund, and MassCEC, along with federal and state support such as the National Science Foundation. More information is available on its website at www.viaseparations.com.