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Title:
METHOD AND DEVICE FOR THE CONTINUOUS COOKING OF CHEMICAL PULP
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/1998/035092
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
A method in connection with continuous cooking of chips, comprising impregnation of the chips with impregnation liquid in an impregnation vessel (3) and cooking of the impregnated chips in a digester (4), the impregnation vessel and the digester being connected to each other by means of a transfer circulation, which partly, via a feed line (25), feeds the chips from an outlet end (27) of the impregnation vessel to the top of the digester for separation of free liquid in a separator (28), and partly, via a return line (26), feeds separated liquid from the top of the digester to the outlet end of the impregnation vessel for use as transfer liquid for the impregnated chips, besides which cooking liquid is added to the chips in the top of the digester. According to the invention, as a first part, less than 100 %, preferably less than 95 % and more preferred less than 90 % of the liquid which is separated from the chips in the transfer circulation, is recirculated to be used as transfer liquid.

Inventors:
SNEKKENES VIDAR (SE)
Application Number:
PCT/SE1998/000224
Publication Date:
August 13, 1998
Filing Date:
February 09, 1998
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
KVAERNER PULPING TECH (SE)
SNEKKENES VIDAR (SE)
International Classes:
D21C1/00; D21C7/06; D21C7/14; (IPC1-7): D21C7/06; D21C3/24
Domestic Patent References:
WO1994023120A11994-10-13
WO1994009203A11994-04-28
WO1995021961A11995-08-17
Foreign References:
US5089086A1992-02-18
US3532594A1970-10-06
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Kylin, Peter (P.O. Box 1033, Karlstad, SE)
Download PDF:
Claims:
CLAIMS
1. A separator for wood chips disposed in the feed line between an impregnation vessel and a digester comprising: a screw feeder (29) having an inlet end (25) and an outlet end (33) for feeding wood chips in an upward direction from the inlet end towards the outlet end of the screw feeder; a rotatable shaft (63)in operative engagement with the screw feeder; a drive unit (30) secured to the rotatable shaft for rotating the rotatable shaft; a cylindrical screen basket (31) enclosing the screw feeder; and a liquid collecting space (35) enclosing the cylindrical screen basket (31) for separating a substantial portion of a free liquid, the liquid collecting space being in fluid communication with a return line (26) connected to the outlet of the impregnation vessel; and a distribution means (36;23) for supplying a cooking liquid to the fiber material, preferably in the form of an annual ring, said distribution means (36,23) being positioned downstream of the collecting space (35) in relation to the flow of the chips.
2. A separator according to claim 1 c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n a recovery line (54) in fluid communication with said collecting space (35) to be withdraw a spent liquor from the return line fluid and conduct it to a recovery unit.
3. A separator according to claim 1 or 2 c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that said supply space (23) is positioned above the withdrawal space (35), whereby the distance between the upper edge of the screen (31;61) and said supply space (36;23) is less than the diameter (Ds)of the feed screw (29;62), preferably adjacently positioned by means of an outer wall (34) being integral for both the withdrawal space (35) and the supply space (36) and more, preferred directly above by means of a partition ring (69).
4. A separator system according to claim 1, 2 or 3 c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that total area of passage way between the supply space (23) and the inner of the separator exceeds bout 400 mm2 preferably exceeding 600 mm2, in order to provide for sufficient flow capacity, whereby said passage way preferably is formed by a number of symmetrically positioned, circular holes (37).
5. A separator according to any preceding claim c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that there is a further supply space (25), preferably positioned intermediate said first supply space (23) and the withdrawal space (35), for supply of a different liquid than the liquid supplied through the first supply space.
6. A separator according to any preceding claim c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that said separator (7) is positioned within the top of the digester.
7. Method in connection with continuous cooking of cellulose containing fibre material, comprising impregnation of the fibre material with impregnation liquid in an impregnation vessel (3) and cooking of the impregnated fibre material in a digester (4), the impregnation vessel (3) and the digester (4) being connected to each other by means of a transfer circulation, which partly, via a feed line (25), feeds the fibre material from an outlet end (27) of the impregnation vessel (3) to the top of the digester (4) for separation of free liquid from the fibre material in a separator (28), and partly, via a return line (26), feeds separated liquid from the top of the digester (4) to the outlet end (27) of the impregnation vessel (3) for use as transfer liquid for the impregnated fibre material, besides which liquid, comprising cooking liquid, is added to the fibre material in connection with the top of the digester (4), downstream said separation of liquid, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that, as a first part, less than 100%, preferably less than 95% and more preferred less than 90% of the liquid which is separated from the fibre material in the transfer circulation is recirculated to be used as transfer liquid for the impregnated fibre material and/or to be reused in connection with the impregnation vessel, either as a transfer liquid or as an impregnation liquid.
8. Method according to claim 7, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the mixture of fibre material and impregnation liquid is fed through the entire impregnation vessel (3) without liquid being withdrawn from the cooking process via the impregnation vessel.
9. Method according to claim 7 or 8, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that a second part of the liquid which is separated in the separator (28) is led to recovery.
10. Method according to claim 9, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that a third part of the liquid which is separated in the separator (28) is fed to the top of the impregnation vessel.
11. Method according to claim 9, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the second part of the withdrawn liquid is allowed to flash before the recovery.
12. Method according to any of the claims 711, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the second part of the withdrawn liquid constitutes at most 20 m3/ADMT of pulp and at least 0.5 m3/ADMT of pulp, preferably at least 2 m3/ADMT of pulp and more preferred at least 4 m3/ADMT of pulp 13. Method according to any of the claims 79, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that liquid is separated from the fibre material in a controlled amount, so that the fibre material contains at least 0.
13. 5 m3 free liquid/ADMT of pulp.
14. Method according to any of the claims 713, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that cooking liquid is added, preferably to the separator (28), after separation of liquid in order to be intimately mixed with the fibre material which is poor in liquid, by influence of an upwards feeding screw (29) in the top separator (28).
15. Method according to any of the claims 915, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the said second part of liquid is withdrawn from said return line (26) via a branch line (54), directly or indirectly, outside the fibre material to the recovery, without any essential part thereof being recirculated to the digester.
16. Apparatus for continuous cooking of cellulose containing fibre material, comprising an impregnation vessel (3) for impregnation of the fibre material with an impregnation liquid, a digester (4) and a transfer circulation, which has a feed line (25) for feeding the fibre material from the outlet end (27) of the impregnation vessel (3) to the top of the digester (4) for separation of free liquid from the fibre material by means of a separator (28), which has a liquid chamber (35) for the separated liquid, and a return line (26) for recirculation of a first part of said separated liquid to the impregnation vessel (3), and a line (55) for addition of cooking liquor in connection with the top of the digester (4), c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the apparatus comprises a connection (53), which stretches from the liquid chamber (35) of the separator to a recovery plant, for withdrawal of a second part of the liquid which is separated by the separator (28) from the cooking system.
17. Apparatus according to claim 16, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the impregnation vessel is free from any screen device for withdrawal of liquid from the cooking system.
18. Apparatus according to claim 16 or 17, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that said connection (53) comprises a flash cyclone (43).
19. Apparatus according to any of the claims 1618, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that said connection (53) comprises said return line (26) and a branch line (54) to the same.
20. Apparatus according to any of the claims 1619, c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that the separator (28) has a cylindrical part (32), which is not broken through, which is located above a cylindrical screen part (31), which is surrounded by said liquid chamber (35), whereby a upward feeding screw (29) cooperates with the part (32) which is not broken through and the screen part (31), and that said line (55) for cooking liquor is connected to the separator (28) via a ring shaped conduit (36), which surrounds said part (32) which is not broken through and which, via holes (37) in itself and in the part (32) which is not broken through, communicates with the screw room (38) for even addition and intimate mixingin of cooking liquor into the fibre material.
21. Modified apparatus for continuous cooking of cellulose containing fibre material, comprising an impregnation vessel (3) for impregnation of the fibre material with an impregnation liquid, a digester (4) and a transfer circulation, which has a feed line (25) for feeding the fibre material from the outlet end (27) of the impregnation vessel (3) to the top of the digester (4) for separation of free liquid from the fibre material by means of a separator (28), which has a liquid chamber (35) for the separated liquid, and a return line (26) for recirculation of a first part of said separated liquid to the impregnation vessel (3), and a line (55) for addition of cooking liquor in connection with the top of the digester (4), c h a r a c t e r i z e d i n that said return line (26) is equipped with a branch line (54) which, directly or indirectly, leads to the recovery system, preferably to the evaporation, so that a large amount of liquid, which is introduced into the branch line (54), can be led to the evaporation without first reentering into any cooking zone.
Description:
METHOD AND DEVICE FOR THE CONTINUOUS COOKING OF CHEMICAL PULP Technical field The present invention relates to a novel top separator and a method for producing pulp, preferably sulphate cellulose, with the aid of continuous digester systems.

Background and summary of the invention Environmental demands has forced our industry to develop improved cooking and bleaching methods. One recent breakthrough within the field of cooking is ITCHY, which was developed in 1992-1993. ITCE is described in WO-9411566, which shows that very good results concerning the pulp quality may be achieved. ITC is mainly based on using almost the same temperature (relatively low compared to prior art) in all cooking zones in combination with moderate alkaline levels. The ITC-concept does not merely relate to the equalization of temperatures between different cooking zones, but a considerable contribution of the ITd-concept relates to enabling an equalized alkaline profile also in the lower part of the counter-current cooking zone.

Moreover, it is known that impregnation with the aid of black liquor can improve the strength properties of the fibers in the pulp produced. The aim of the impregnation is, in the first place, to thoroughly soak each chip so that it becomes susceptible, by penetration and diffusion, to the active cooking chemicals which, in the context of sulphate cellulose, principally consist of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulphide.

If, as is customary according to prior art, a large proportion of the white liquor is supplied in connection with the impregnation, there will exist no distinct border between impregnation and cooking. This leads to difficulties in optimizing the conditions in the transition zone between impregnation and cooking.

Now it has been found that surprisingly good results can be achieved when: 1. Keeping a low temperature but a high alkali content in the beginning of a concurrent cooking zone of the digester; 2. Withdrawing a substantial part of a highly alkaline spent liquor that has passed through at least the concurrent cooking zone; and 3. Supplying a substantial portion of the withdrawn spent liquor that has a relatively high amount of rest-alkali, to a point that is adjacent the beginning of an impregnation zone.

This leads to a reduced H-factor demand, reduced consumption of cooking chemicals and better heat-economy.

Additionally, the novel method leads to production of pulp that has a high quality and a very good bleachability, which means that bleach chemicals and methods can be chosen with a wider variety than before for reaching desired quality targets (brightness, yield, tear-strength, viscosity, etc.) of the finally bleached pulp. This novel process is defined in more detail in our co-pending application PCT/SE97/00192.

The present invention relates to a preferred method and device for practising the above. In connection with the continuous cooking of cellulose containing fibre material, it comprises impregnation of the fibre material with an impregnation liquid in an impregnation vessel and cooking of the impregnated fiber material in a digester, the impregnation vessel and the digester being connected to each other by a transfer circulation, which, via a feed line, feeds the fibre material from an outlet end of the impregnation vessel to the top of the digester, which feed- line comprises a separator for separation of free liquid from the fibre material and, which via a return line, feeds separated liquid back to the outlet end of the impregnation vessel for use as transfer liquid for the impregnated fibre

material. Cooking liquid, is added to the fibre material after separation of the free liquid, preferably in connection with the top of the digester, downstream said separation of liquid.

According to conventional technique for withdrawal of liquid from the cooking system, this is normally done directly from the withdrawal strainer of the digester itself. Alternatively in connection with a two vessel system the impregnation vessel, may be supplied with fresh cooking liquor and equipped with a screening device, from which some of the withdrawn liquid is transferred to a recovery plant, possibly after first having passed a flash cyclone. The use of such a screening device involves a considerable cost, due to a special construction of the impregnation vessel being necessary, assembly of conduits and installation of screens, blind plates, nozzles, a possible central line and different instruments in addition to labour for assembling, welding etc. In addition to this there are difficulties in optimizing the withdrawal at this point. Moreover the operating costs of such a screening device is not neglectable. Furthermore the addition of white liquor (fresh cooking liquid) within the impregnation vessel or in the transfer circulation line leads to difficulties in optimizing the process. Firstly when supplying to the impregnation vessel it can be difficult to achieve sufficient mixing of the added white liquor in the impregnation vessel, leading to varying levels of alkaline in different parts. Secondly different kind of wood chips may consume varying amounts of alkaline, making it more difficult to optimize the conditions in the impregnation vessel. It is even claimed that the above might have a bad influence on cost and the quality of pulp, since if a too high amount of alkaline exists in connection with the mechanical action of the outlet scraper might deteriorate fibre strength.

The object of the present invention is to improve and simplify the cooking department with respect to withdrawal and supply of liquid from the cooking system. This is achieved by the use of a new method in connection with a new separator, also leading to a simplified construction of the impregnation vessel with resulting savings in material and costs and to a better way of optimizing withdrawal and supply of liquid thereby also creating conditions for a better utilisation of the cooking liquid.

The device according to the invention is characterised by a separator for wood chips disposed in the feed line between an impregnation vessel and a digester comprising: a screw feeder having an inlet end and an outlet end for feeding wood chips in an upward direction from the inlet end towards the outlet end of the screw feeder; a rotatable shaft in operative engagement with the screw feeder; a drive unit secured to the rotatable shaft for rotating the rotatable shaft; a cylindrical screen basket enclosing the screw feeder; and a liquid collecting space enclosing the cylindrical screen basket for separating a substantial portion of a free liquid, the liquid collecting space being in fluid communication with a return line connected to the outlet of the impregnation vessel; and a distribution means for supplying a cooking liquid to the fiber material, said distribution means being positioned downstream of the collecting space in relation to the flow of the chips.

According to a further aspect of the invention, less than 100%, preferably less than 95% and more preferred less than 90% of the liquid which is separated from the fibre material in the transfer circulation is recirculated to be used as transfer liquid for the impregnated fibre material

and/or to be re-used in connection with the impregnation vessel, either as a transfer liquid or as an impregnation liquid.

Further the apparatus according to the invention is characterised in that it comprises a connection, which stretches from the liquid chamber of the separator to a recovery plant, for withdrawal of a second part of the liquid which is separated by the separator from the cooking system.

According to a preferred embodiment of the invention, the mixture of fibre material and impregnation liquid is fed through the entire impregnation vessel, without liquid being withdrawn from the cooking via the impregnation vessel, besides which a second part of the liquid which is separated in the separator is transferred to recovery.

It is preferred that the second part of the withdrawn liquid is allowed to flash before the recovery.

The second part of the withdrawn liquid may suitably constitute at most 20 m3/ADMT of pulp and at least 0.5 m3/ADMT of pulp, preferably at least 2 m3/ADMT of pulp and more preferred at least 4 m3/ADMT of pulp. It is suitable that liquid is separated from the fibre material in a controlled amount, so that the fibre material contains at least 0.5 m3 free liquid/ADMT of pulp.

According to yet another preferred embodiment of the invention, cooking liquid is added to the separator after separation of liquid in order to be intimately mixed with the fibre material which is poor in liquid, by influence of an upwards feeding screw in the top separator.

The said second part of liquid is suitably withdrawn from said return line via a branch line, directly or indirectly,

outside the fibre material to the recovery without any essential part thereof being recirculated to the digester.

The invention will in the following be further explained by an example, with reference to the drawings.

Fig. 1 shows schematically a preferred two vessel digester according to the invention.

Fig. 2 shows a preferred embodiment of a separator positioned in the upper part of the digester according to figure 1.

Fig. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a further embodiment of a separator according to the present invention; Fig. 4 is a schematic flow diagram of a one vessel steam-liquid digester using the novel process concept; Fig. 5 shows a diagram presenting the advantages related to the H-factor when using the invention; Fig. 6 shows which conditions were used in the laboratory for one of the ITC-references and one of the cooking methods according to the invention (so called modified ITC); Fig. 7 shows test data related to peroxide consumption and brightness for the present (compact) method compared to a conventional process; Fig. 8 shows test data related to tensile index and tear index for the present (compact) method compared to a conventional process; Fig. 9 shows test data related to tensile index and tear index for the present compact method compared to a conventional process; Fig. 10 shows test data related to C1 charge and brightness for the present (compact) method compared to a conventional process; Fig. 11 shows a slight modification of the embodiment shown in figure 4, whereby some of the features of this invention and the novel process is used in a single vessel

digester system.

Fig. 12 shows a further embodiment of a one vessel digester using the novel process.

The invention is described in connection with the production of sulphate pulp with wood chips as raw material, but it is of course applicable for production of other types of pulp and with any type of suitable raw materials consisting of cellulose containing fibre material, e.g. bagasse, saw dust, etc.

The apparatus which is schematically shown in figure 1 comprises a vertical steaming vessel 1, a horizontal steaming vessel 2, a vertical impregnation vessel 3 and a vertical digester 4, which operates according to the steam- liquid phase principle. The horizontal steaming vessel may be excluded if wished. The chips are fed through a line 5 to the vertical steaming vessel 1, to which low pressure steam or alternatively flash steam is added through a line 6 for heating of the chips and decreasing their content of air. Separated air can be removed through a line 7, which is connected to the horizontal steaming vessel 2. This pre- steaming is conducted at atmospheric pressure. The heated chips are measured with a chip meter, which is arranged in a connection 8 between the two steaming vessels 1, 2, which connection 8 also comprises a low pressure feeder 9, which sluices the chips into the horizontal steaming vessel 2, in which the pressure is 1-1.5 bar overpressure. The chips fall from the pressurised steaming vessel 2 into a chute 10, which has a high pressure feeder 11 arranged in its lower part. A certain level of liquid is maintained in the chute 10.

Between the high pressure feeder 11 and the impregnation vessel 3, there is a top circulation, which comprises a feed line 12 for a mixture of chips and impregnation liquid, and a return line 13 for separated impregnation

liquid. A downwards feeding top separator 14 is arranged in the top of the impregnation vessel 3 for feeding of the chips into the impregnation vessel at the same time as a part of the impregnation liquid is separated off and is pumped with a pump 15 through the return line 13, back to the high pressure feeder 11. The high pressure feeder 11 is equipped with a rotor with pockets, whereby one pocket always is in low pressure position, to be in open connection with the steaming vessel 2 and one pocket always, at the same time, is in high pressure position, to be in open connection with the impregnation vessel 3 via the feed line 12, which is connected to the top of the impregnation vessel. When a rotor pocket, which is filled with chips, arrives in high pressure position, that is in direct connection with the top circulation, it is flushed clean by the liquid from the return line 13, and the suspension of chips and impregnation liquid is fed into the top of the impregnation vessel 3 via the feed line 12.

Liquid, in a circulation loop 17, which is equipped with a pump 16, is at the same time feeding chips from the chute 10 into one of the pockets of the high pressure feeder so that this pocket is filled with chips. The circulation loop 17 is, via a line 18, connected with a level tank 19, which in its turn, via a line 20, is connected to the return line 13 of the top circulation.

Suitable impregnation liquid, which may comprise black liquor and white liquor and optionally other chemicals, is added to the top circulation. Black liquor is added through a line 21 and white liquor through a line 22, which two lines are connected to the return line 13, via the line 20.

The impregnation vessel 3, itself, is, in accordance with the present invention, in the shown embodiment, completely free from an arrangement for withdrawal of liquid from the impregnation phase of the cooking system, at a location between the inlet 23 and the outlet 24 of the impregnation

vessel. Consequently, the impregnation vessel 3 presents a longish cylindrical tube, which is completely free from a cost increasing withdrawal screen for withdrawal of liquid from the impregnation phase and removal of this liquid from the cooking system.

Between the impregnation vessel 3 and the digester 4, there is a transfer circulation, which comprises a feed line 25 for the mixture of impregnated chips and liquid and a return line 26 for separated liquid. The feed line 25 is, by one of its ends, connected to an outlet end 27 of the impregnation vessel 3, which outlet end 27 thus comprises said outlet 24, and by its other end, to a top separator 28, which is arranged in the top of the digester 4 for separation of liquid from the chip-liquid mixture that has been fed in.

As is more readily apparent from figure 2, the top separator 28 has a vertically arranged screw 29, which is driven by a motor 30, and a cylindrical body, in which the screw 29 rotates and which has a lower screen part 31 and a thereby following, upper part 32 which is not broken through and presents a free upper edge 33. The screen part 31 is surrounded by a concentric wall 34, which is not broken through, for formation of a liquid chamber 35, there between for collection of liquid, which is pressed out through the screen part 31 under influence of the screw 29.

The screenface 31 is preferably designed in accordance with our design described in PCT/SE94/00315, i.e. by the use of rigid vertically arranged rods, which are welded onto support rings so as to form gaps of about 3-10 mm, preferably about 4-7 mm, there between.

A ring shaped supply conduit 36 is arranged around the screw 29 within the area of the part 32, which is not broken through. Holes 37 are arranged in the supply conduit 36 and the part 32 which is otherwise not broken through

for addition of white liquor and possibly other liquid to the chips, which moves upwards in the screw room 38 and from which a large part of the free liquid has been pressed out through the screen part 31, just before. The supply space 36 and the withdrawal space 35 are separated in a sealed manner. In the preferred case the distance between the supply space 36 and the upper edge of the screen 31 is less than the diameter (Ds) of the screw 29. According to the alternative shown in fig. 2 they are positioned directly on top of each other, which is achieved by means of a concentric ring plate 69, e.g. by the use of welding.

Also according to the shown embodiment the outer wall 34 of the withdrawal space 35 may be integral with the outer wall of the supply space 36.

The feed line 25 is connected to the bottom of the top separator 28. The return line 26 is connected to the liquid chamber 35. Medium pressure steam may be added via a line 39, to the upper steam room of the digester in the top of the digester 4 in connection with the top separator 28 in order to heat the chips (and free liquid) that are fed in by the screw 29 and which fall down over the free edge 33 of the part 32, which is not broken through.

The digester 4 has, within its middle part, a withdrawal screen 40 for withdrawal of black liquor via a line 41, that is connected to a first flash cyclone 42, which is in connection with a second flash cyclone 43 via a line 44.

Effluent from the second flash cyclone 43 is led via a line 45, completely or partly, to a recovery plant (not shown).

The steam which is formed in the flash cyclones 42, 43 can be used in different locations in the cooking process, for example for the steaming in the steaming vessels 1, 2. In the digester there is, in addition to top and middle circulations, a bottom circulation, which comprises a withdrawal screen 46 and a circulation line 49, which is equipped with a pump 47 and a heat exchanger 48, and which comprises a central line 50 that mouths at the withdrawal

screen 46. Wash liquid is added to the bottom part of the digester 4 via a line 51. The digested chips are fed out through an outlet in the bottom of the digester 4 and are led away through a line 52 for further treatment.

The top separator 28 is further, with its liquid chamber 35, connected with the other flash cyclone 43 via a connection 53 which, in the embodiment shown, comprises the return line 26 and a branch line 54 to the same. A prechosen amount of liquid from the cooking system is withdrawn through the connection 53, which thus takes place with an existing screen device, that is, the top separator 28 in the digester which thereby achieves yet another function when it takes over the function of the conventional withdrawal screen in the impregnation vessel.

In an alternative embodiment, the withdrawn liquid is led directly to recovery, without passing the flash cyclone.

White liquor is added to the top of the digester 4, via a line 55 which passes a heat exchanger 56. This heat exchanger can alternatively be excluded. A line 57 connects the return line 26 with the line 55 for white liquor for addition of withdrawn liquid from the top separator 28, when wished. This line 57 can alternatively be excluded. A line 58 is, further, connected to the line 55 for white liquor, for addition of wash liquid when wished. The heat exchanger 56 may work with low pressure steam, medium pressure steam or flash steam.

Instead of withdrawing liquid from a screen section in the impregnation vessel, necessary withdrawal of liquid is thus conducted on the liquor side of the transfer circulation.

An advantage of the invention is that the transfer circulation does not need to be heated, which means that chips which are fed out from the impregnation vessel 3 can keep a lower temperature than before, for example 13000 as

compared to previous 145"C, which in its turn has a beneficial effect on the pulp quality. The lower temperature in the transfer circulation will additionally decrease the risk of the problems which may occur in the top separator at the previously used high temperatures.

By adding the white liquor to the fibre material in connection with the top separator 28 downstream the location for the separation of the liquid, that is downstream the screen part 31, this addition of white liquor becomes completely separated from the transfer circulation so that the entire amount of white liquor normally can be used in the digester 4. The inlet for the white liquor is preferably situated inside the top separator in a blind zone 32, which surrounds the screw 29 and which is located above the screen part 31 itself. A good mixing of chips and white liquor is thereby secured by means of the influence of the screw 29, before the chips and the white liquor are fed out from the screw and fall down into the steam room of the digester. It is beneficial that the chips contain at least a small amount of free liquid when they leave the screen part 31 and are fed up into the blind zone 32, in order to thereby prevent that white liquor is drawn down into the screen part and is pressed out into the liquid chamber.

The relation between liquid and wood at the inlet of the impregnation vessel can, for example, be 3.5/1, but the invention makes it possible to use larger amounts of liquid, as for example up to 6/1 and above. The pressure in the impregnation vessel can, for example, be 10 bar overpressure and the temperature can, for example, be kept at 115-1200C at the top or lower for example 90-100°C. Any displacement of liquid by withdrawal of liquid from the cooking system does thus not take place in the impregnation vessel.

White liquor is added to the top of the digester in an amount which is enough to obtain the wished delignification of the chips. The impregnated chips avail the white liquor through diffusion. Steam is added to adjust the cooking temperature to the wished level, for example within 140- 1700C.

The liquid which is pressed out from the screw 29 and is collected in the liquid chamber 35 can be distributed in a suitable way with respect to transfer liquid, which is fed to the impregnation vessel via the return line 26, liquid which is complementary to the white liquor which is withdrawn through the line 57, and liquid which is withdrawn from the cooking system via the connection 53, that is, the line 26 and the branch line 54. The relation can, in the order given, be 20-30 m3/ADMT of pulp (to the impregnation vessel), 0-4 m3/ADMT of pulp (via the line 57) and 0.5-10 m3/ADMT of pulp (via the branch line 54), or sometimes even as much as 12-15 m3/ADMT. By attaching a line between the withdrawal screen 40 and the top of the impregnation vessel 3 the system shown in Fig. 1 may easily be connected to run according to the novel process, which process is described in more detail in our co-pending application PCT/SE97/00192 and also in connection with figures 4 and 11 herein.

In Figure 3 there is shown a further embodiment of a separator to be used in connection with a steam/vapour phase digester, as described in figure 2. The separator of Fig. 3 is almost identical with the one shown in Fig. 2 except for the existence of a further supply space 25, being positioned below the first supply space 23. This further supply space 25 has as its object to provide for the possibility of supplying a further liquid to the up- moving chip pile. Especially for the possibility of supplying black liquor in order to secure a minimum amount of free liquid flowing upwardly in the chips pile, to

eliminate back flow of the cooking liquor supplied above, in 23.

As in fig. 2 circumjacent the screen basket 61 there is arranged a liquid collecting space 67, which may be connected to the return pipe circulation 15. Above the liquid collecting space 67, also circumjacent the screen basket 61, there is arranged a liquid supply space or opening 23 which is connected to the supply line 24 that supplies white liquor (F). The separator also has a plurality of inlet apertures 37 defined therein to subject the fiber chips with white liquor. The inlet apertures preferably has a total area that exceeds 400 mm2. More preferred, the total area of the inlet apertures is at least 500 mm2. Most preferred, the total area of the inlet apertures exceeds 600 mm2 to achieve a sufficient flow into the chip pile. Between the outer peripheral wall 66 of the liquid collecting space 67 and the liquid supply space 23 respectively, and the digester shell 6 at the top, there exist an annular space 70 which opens up down into the upper part of the digester 6. The functioning of the top separator may be described as follows.

The thoroughly heated and impregnated chips are transferred by means of the supply line 21 into the bottom portion of the screen basket 61. Here the screw feeder 62 moves the chips upwardly at the same time as the transport liquid D is separated from the chips, by being withdrawn outwardly through the screen basket 61 and further out of the digester through return line 15. More and more liquid will be withdrawn from the chips during their transport within the screen basket 61. First the chips will reach the level of the first supply space 25 where a desired liquor, for instance black liquor, is supplied. Eventually, the chips will reach the level of the supply space 23. Here the desired amount of cooking liquor, preferably white liquor, is added through the supply space 23 and the openings 37, having a temperature and effective alkaline content in accordance with the invention.

In order to eliminate the risk of back flowing of the supplied liquid from the supply space 23 into the liquid collection space 67, a minor amount of free liquid (at least about 0.5 m3/ADT) should be left together with the chips, which free liquid will then be mixed with the supplied cooking liquor. As explained above this may also be achieved by means of supply of free liquid through the intermediate supply space 25. Preferably, about one m3/ADT should be left together with the fiber material.

Additionally, the white liquor should be provided at a point that is downstream of the flow of the suspension of the fiber material and the free liquid that is being fed through the screw member.

At the top of the screen basket 61, the chips and the cooking liquor may flow over the upper edge thereof and fall into the steam liquid space 70 and further on to the top of the chips pile within the digester, where the concurrent cooking zone (B) starts.

A major advantage of the separation device is that they provide for establishing a distinguished change of zones (they enable almost a total exchange of free liquid at this point), which means that for a two vessel system the desired conditions in the beginning of the concurrent zone (B) can easily be established.

Fig. 4 illustrates a single vessel steam/liquid phase digester system, wherein a conventional type of top separator 7h is used. The chips are fed from a chip bin 20A, through a steaming vessel 20B and a chip chute 20C. A feeding device, preferably a high-pressure feeder l9h feeds the chips suspended in a transport liquid D via a conduit 18h to the top of a digester 6h. The feeder 19h is co- operating with the chute 20C, and is connected to the necessary liquid circulations and replenishment.

The conduit 18h extends from the feeder 19h up to a top 5h of the digester 6h. The conduit 18h may open up at the bottom of the top separator 7h that feeds by means of a

screw in an upwardly moving direction. The separator 7h has no supply space 36 as shown in Fig. 2. The screen of the separator may be used to draw off the transport liquid D (which is then returned in a return line 15h) together with which the chips are transported from the feeder 19h up to the top 5h of the digester 6h. A first screen girdle section 8h may be disposed immediately below or adjacent the separator 7h. A recirculation line 17h withdraws liquor and brings it back to a space that is defined between the first screen girdle section 8h and the separator 7h at the same time as withdrawn black liquor is added. This recirculation improves the distribution of the black liquor withdrawn from screen section 104 h and added to the impregnation zone A, in order to run the digester according to the novel process.

A second screen girdle section 51h is disposed below the first screen girdle section 8h so that an impregnation zone A is defined between the screen girdle sections 8h and 51h. We have found indications that it is desirable to keep the alkaline level at above at least 2g/l, preferably above 4g/l, in the impregnation zone A in connection with black liquor, which would normally correspond to a pH of about 11. If not, it appears that dissolved lignin precipitate and even condense. Spent liquor may be withdrawn from the upper screen of the section 51h and conducted with a conduit 111h to a second flash tank 112h. Spent liquor is withdrawn via a conduit 109h from a lower screen of the section 51h and conducted back to the space defined above the first screen girdle section 8h so that the spent liquor may be reintroduced back to the lower screen of the second screen girdle section 51h via a central pipe 105h. The temperature of the spent liquor may be controlled by a heat exchanger 13h. The heat exchanger 13h is in operative engagement with a high pressure steam line 102h via a conduit 122h.

A cooking liquor conduit 24h is operatively attached to the conduit 109h to supply a cooking liquor, such as

white liquor, to the conduit 109h. The effective alkali of the liquor in the conduit 109h is at least about 13 g/l; more preferably at least about 16 g/l; and, most preferably, between about 13 g/l and about 30 g/l.

Approximately 95% of the total supply of the white liquor is conducted in the conduit 24h and the remaining 5% is supplied to the high pressure feeder 19h via a conduit 132h and a conduit 134h to lubricate the high pressure feeder 19h.

A third screen girdle section 104h may be arranged below the second screen girdle section 51h so that a concurrent cooking zone B is defined between the screen girdle sections 51h and 104h. Draw-off from the third screen section 104h, such as spent liquor, i.e., black liquor, may be conducted via a conduit 106h back to the conduit 17h. A portion of the black liquor in the conduit 106h may be conducted to a first flash tank 108h via a conduit 107h to cool the spent liquor before the liquor is conducted to a recovery unit 110h. Preferably, the spent liquor is also conducted through a second flash tank 112h via a conduit 114h to further reduce the temperature and pressure of the spent liquor before the liquor is conducted to the recovery unit 110h. The spent liquor from both flash tanks 108h, 112h are then conducted with a conduit 126h to the recovery unit 110h. Conduits 128h and 130h may be connected to the flash tanks 108h, 112h, respectively, to provide steam that is sent to the chip bin 20A and the steaming vessel 20B.

At a bottom 10h of the digester 6h, there is a feeding-out device including a scraping element 22h. A fourth lower screen girdle section 12h is disposed at the bottom 10h of the digester 6h so that a counter-current cooking zone C is defined between the sections 104h and 12h. The girdle section 12h may, for example, include three rows of screens for withdrawing liquid, which is heated and to which some white liquor, preferably about 10% of the total amount of the white liquor in the conduit 24h, is

added via a branch conduit 117h before it is recirculated by means of a central pipe 123h, which opens up at about the same level as the lowermost strainer girdle 12h.

The draw-off from screen girdles 12h and the white liquor from the branch conduit 117h are preferably conducted via a heat exchanger 120h back to the bottom 10h of the digester 6h. The conduit 122h is connected to the heat exchanger 120h to provide the heat exchanger 120h with steam to regulate the temperature of the liquor in the conduit 116h. The white liquor is supplied in a counter- current direction via the central pipe 123h to the screen girdle section 12h. The white liquor provides fresh alkali and, in the form of counter-current cooking, further reducing the kappa number. A blow line 26h may be connected to the bottom 10h of the digester for conducting the digested pulp away from the digester 6h.

The installation, as shown in Fig. 4, using our novel process (but not the specific invention presented herein) may be described as follows. The chips are fed into the chip bin 20A and are subsequently steamed in the vessel 20B and, thereafter, conveyed into the chute 20C. The high-pressure feeder 19h, which is supplied with a minor amount of white liquor (approximately 5% of the total amount to lubricate the feeder), feeds the chips into the conduit 18h together with the transport liquid. The slurry of chips and the liquid are fed to the top of the digester 6h and may have a temperature of about 110-1200C when entering the digester 6h (excluding recirculated transport liquor).

Inside the top of the digester 6h, there is the top separator 7h that pushes chips in an upward direction through the separator and then the chips move slowly downwards in a plug flow through the impregnation zone A in a liquid/wood ratio between 2/1-10/1 preferably between 3/1-8/1, more preferred of about 4/1-6/1. The liquor, which is drawn off from the screen girdle section 8h, may be recirculated via the conduit 17h to the space below the top

separator 7h. The chips are then thoroughly impregnated in the impregnation zone A.

The retention time in the impregnation zone A should be at least 20 minutes, preferably at least 30 minutes and more preferred at least 40 minutes. However, a shorter retention time than 20 minutes, such as 15-20 minutes may also be used. The volume of the impregnation zone A may be larger than 1/11, preferably larger than 1/10 of the volume of the digester 6h. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, the volume V of the impregnation zone A should exceed 5 times the value of the square of the maximum digester diameter, i.e., V = 5D2, where D is the maximum diameter of the digester 6h.

The chips, which have been thoroughly impregnated and partially delignified in the impregnation zone A, are then passed into the concurrent cooking zone B.

A spent liquor is withdrawn at the upper segment of the screen section 51h and conducted to the second flash tank 112h. A spent liquor is also withdrawn at the lower segment of the section 51h and reintroduced via the central pipe 105h with the addition of white liquor supplied by the conduit 24h.

The chips move down in the concurrent zone B through the digester 6h at a relatively low cooking temperature, i.e., between 130-160"C, preferably about 140-l500C. The major part of the delignification takes place in the first concurrent cooking zone B.

The liquid-wood ratio should be at least 2/1 and should be below 7/1, preferably in the range of 3/1-5.5/1, more preferred between 3.5/1 and 5/1. (The liquid wood-ratio in the counter-current cooking zone should be about the same as in the concurrent cooking zone.) The temperature in the lower counter-current zone C may in connection with some installation be higher than in the concurrent zone B. The alkali content in the lowermost part of the counter-current cooking zone C may in such installations preferably be lower than in the beginning of

the concurrent zone B. Expediently, the conduit 116h may be charged with about 5-20%, preferably 10-15%, white liquor from the conduit 24h via the conduit 117h.

The temperature of the liquid which is recirculated via the pipe 123h up to the screen girdle section 12h is regulated with the aid of the heat exchanger 120h so that the desired cooking temperature is obtained at the lowermost part of the counter-current cooking zone.

In Fig. 5, there is shown a diagram comparing the H-factor <BR> <BR> TM<BR> <BR> for pulp produced according to a conventional ITC>-cooking process and according to the cooking process of the present invention The H-factor is a function of time and temperature in relation to the delignification process (degree of delignification) during the cooking process.

The H-factor is used to control the delignification process of a digester, i.e., maintaining a certain H-factor principally leads to the same Kappa number of the produced pulp (remaining lignin content of the fiber material) independent of any temperature variations during the cooking process.

In Fig. 6, it is shown that the H-factor for pulp produced according to the present invention is extremely much lower (about 40-50% lower) compared to pulp produced according to ITC. This means that much lower temperatures may be used for the same retention time in order to reach a certain degree of delignification (Kappa number) and/or that smaller vessels for the cooking within a continuous digester can be used and/or that a lower Kappa number may be achieved with the same kind of basic equipment and/or that higher rate of production can be obtained.

The lower H-factor demand is achieved by a high alkali concentration and a low cooking temperature in the concurrent cooking zone, which presents one reference ITC-cook (ITC 1770) and one cook according to the present invention (modified ITC* 1763). As shown, the temperature in the counter-current cooking zone, according to the

present invention, is higher than in the concurrent zone but still lower than the temperature in the counter-current zone in the ITC-reference.

Fig. 7 shows results from TCF bleaching using the novel cooking process (so called "new concept") of the present invention compared to a conventional reference cooking process. The present invention provides a TCF- bleached pulp having extremely good bleachability, i.e. a higher brightness is achieved compared to the conventional process for the same amount of peroxide consumption, and also a higher brightness ceiling is obtained.

Fig. 8 shows the tear index relative to the tensile index. The test data compares results obtained by the novel cooking process ("new concept") of the present invention with a conventional cooking process ("ITC- reference").

Similarly, Fig. 9 compares test data for the novel process with those from a conventional process. As can be seen the present invention exhibits better tensile index compared to the conventional method.

Fig. 10 shows the brightness level by using the novel process ("new concept") with reference cooked pulp The novel cooking process of the present invention exhibits a higher brightness compared to the conventional cooking process.

Fig. 11 shows principally the same system as described in fig. 4. In contrast to fig. 4, however, a top separator 7i according to the invention is used. Accordingly this top separator 7i is arranged with one (or more) supply space 36 as described in detail in relation to fig. 2. This arrangement does eliminate the need of any circulation in the top of the digester (see screen 8h and re-circulation line 17h, shown in fig. 4). Instead hot black liquor may be supplied to the beginning of the impregnation zone by means of line 199 which with draws liquor from withdrawal strainer 104I, without risqu for getting a too high temperature in the return line. Consequently the use of

this specific invention adds further advantages than described in conjunction with fig. 4 in connection with running of our novel process.

Fig. 12 illustrates an embodiment of a one vessel hydraulic digester wherein the novel process is used but without the use of the present invention, in order to demonstrate the simplifications rendered thereby. Since the digester is hydraulic it has a downwardly feeding top separator 5i. In order to achieve a desired/sufficient exchange of liquid, a liquid exchanger 33i is arranged in the transfer line 18i, 119i. This liquid exchanger may be designed in accordnace with prior art exchangers, having the separation unit at the bottom, a very long screw to feed the chips all the way through it and a separate supply space positioned far above the separation unit. Chips and a transport fluid is pumped up in a conduit 18i and a conduit 119i to a top section 5i of a digester 6i via a separator 33i, wherein liquid is exchanged before the chips enter the top section 5i of the digester 6i.

A portion of the transport liquid may be returned in return line 15i that leads from the top portion 5i to a mid-section of the liquid exchanger 33i and then back to a feeder 19i via a conduit 25i. The conduit 106i conducts the spent liquor withdrawn from a screen girdle section 104i to the liquid from 117i and to the conduit 15i. A portion of the liquor in the conduit 106i may be sent to a flash tank 108i. When comparing figs. 12 and 11 the enourmous advantages of the invention are apparent, i.e. by the use of the invention only one separator is needed and since the liquid exchanger may be eliminated all its circulation lines, pump, valves, etc. are also eliminated implying a considerable cost reduction not only investment wise but also from a maintenance perspective.

According to the novel process the black liquor supplied into the impregnation zone A has a high content of rest alkali, (effective alkali EA as NaOH), at least 13g/l,

preferably about or above 16g/l and more preferred between 13-30g/l in the top of the impregnation zone A. This alkali mainly comes from the black liquor due to the high amount of alkali in the concurrent zone B of the digester 6h.

Furthermore, the strength properties of the fibers are positively affected by the impregnation because of the high amount of sulphide. A major portion of the black liquor may directly (or via one flash tank) be fed into the impregnation zone A. The total supply of black liquor to the impregnation zone A may exceed 80% of the amount drawn off from the draw-off screen girdle section 104h, preferably more than 90% and optimally about 100% of the total flow, which normally is about 8-12 m3/ADT.

The retention time in the impregnation zone A should be at least 20 minutes, preferably at least 30 minutes and more preferred at least 40 minutes. However, a shorter retention time than 20 minutes, such as 15-20 minutes may also be used. The volume of the impregnation zone A may be larger than 1/11, preferably larger than 1/10 of the volume of the digester 6. Additionally, in the preferred embodiment, the volume V of the impregnation zone A should exceed 5 times the value of the square of the maximum digester diameter, i.e., V = 5D2, where D is the maximum diameter of the digester 6.

The invention is not limited to what is described above, but can vary with the scope of the appendant claims. For example, the invention may also be performed in connection with an impregnation vessel having the inlet at the bottom and which accordingly has an upward flow of the chips.

Furthermore it is understood that instead of an annular distribution ring for supply of cooking liquor, a number of nozzles may be used, or even spray nozzles as described in PCT/SE94/01230.