Chemical Recovery And Utilities (CRU)
Recovering the chemicals we use in the pulp making process and generating our own energy are important for both environmental and efficiency reasons. Alberta-Pacific recycles about 92 per cent of the chemicals we use, is self sufficient in our energy supply and treats the water we use with great respect.
The waste entering the CRU process is a mixture of organic and inorganic chemicals called black liquor which was separated from the wood fibres in the fibreline. Separating the chemicals from the black liquors accomplished by burning them in our recovery boiler. Heat generated creates process steam and an inorganic, lava-like substance called ‘smelt’ which is combined with a water mixture to begin the recycling process. What results is green liquor which is further processed to produce white liquor, the primary cooking chemical introduced at the start of the cooking process to digest wood chips into pulp. This recycling process is known as the liquor loop.
Renewable Power Production
Steam produced from the burning of black liquor, in conjunction with hog fuel, allows Alberta-Pacific to be self-sufficient when it comes to energy needs. Not only do we generate enough green power to serve the needs of our millsite but we sell the excess to the Alberta Power Pool supplementing the energy needs of communities and industry in our province. This power is referred to as ‘green’ because it is created using a renewable resource. In 2012 our company commissioned new equipment as part of the Green Transformation Program, which further increases our capacity to generate green energy. This was achieved by the construction of a new 138 kv transmission line and a condensing steam turbine.
Water Usage and Care
Water is an important resource and is a key ingredient in the pulp making process so our company treats it with the utmost respect. Water pumped from the Athabasca River is cleaned and used throughout the pulp making process. There are numerous stages where water is recycled maximizing efficiencies.
Prior to re-entering the Athabasca River the waste water is treated in our world-class effluent treatment system. This includes settling out solids, cooling the water down and using microscopic bugs to consume organic materials in the effluent. It has given us the ability to have one of the lowest levels of effluent discharge of any pulp mill in the world.
All discharges to the Athabasca River are closely monitored and regulated by the Federal and Provincial governments.