Dec 8, 2023
ARAUCO’s historic MAPA project faced several challenges but was ultimately a success. The energy efficient technologies, a high-power recovery boiler and a biomass boiler enable ARAUCO’s carbon neutrality and the delivery of renewable energy to the national electrical grid.
Having faced Covid-19 restrictions that led to special attention being paid to construction site safety and logistical planning, the project has certainly had its challenges. The good cooperation of all the parties has resulted in all the challenges being overcome. The production of the new line 3 started in January 2023, and an intensive ramp-up period is ongoing. ARAUCO expects the production from line 3 to be at full capacity by the first quarter of 2024.
We consider Valmet a strategic partner, and we’re united by friendship and respect.
“ARAUCO and Valmet have had a long relationship, and we consider Valmet a strategic partner. We’re united by friendship and respect, a result of the many years we’ve been working together,” says Hector Araneda, Operations and Environmental Manager of ARAUCO’s pulp business.
The total capacity of the Arauco mill will be as much as 2,100,000 tonnes per year of bleached eucalyptus kraft (BEK) pulp, of which 1,560,000 tonnes will be produced on line 3. The MAPA project is undoubtedly the largest ever made by the forestry sector in Chile.
“We decided to undertake this project for several reasons. MAPA allows us to continue moving forward in line with our purpose and vision as a company. We also wanted this growth to take place in the Arauco community, as we’re strongly committed to its development,” Araneda explains.
“A new production line with the latest technology, which operates efficiently with the highest environmental standards to make products from a renewable raw material like wood, translates into greater productivity and leads to an increase in our competitiveness in the global market. The mill is in the process of ramping up, so there’s still a long way to go. However, we can already see interesting results in efficiency and performance in some areas, which make us optimistic about the future.”
Key technology islands supplied by Valmet included pulp drying and baling lines, a recovery boiler, a power boiler, mill-wide NCG solutions for odorous gas handling, and advanced automation and optimization solutions.
“The equipment purchased from Valmet has met our basic expectations. Although MAPA has only been in operation for a few months, the balance is quite positive. From the operational perspective, we now have one of the most modern pulp mills in the world, operated by a highly qualified and committed team. We’re sure it will allow us to achieve the optimal operation of the mill and will be a determining factor in the future of the company and the community of Arauco,” Araneda continues.
The pulp drying and baling lines are characterized by their energy efficiency and high level of autonomy. The new line 3 includes two pulp drying machines and four baling lines.
“On one of the machines, we’ve already reached the designed production of 2,500 air dry tonnes per day, and we’ve been able to stabilize the other’s production and produce continuously without web breaks. The production is still being ramped up, but both machines have operated very well so far,” says Markus Laaksonen, Project Manager for Valmet’s pulp drying delivery.
The MAPA recovery boiler includes advanced safety and high-power features, and emissions are minimized with Valmet ESPs. The bubbling fluidized bed power boiler uses leftover biomass to produce additional steam and electricity. This enables the delivery of excess renewable electricity to the Chilean national grid.
We now have one of the world’s most modern pulp mills, operated by a highly qualified and committed team.
“Both the recovery and power boiler have performed well and can reach the nominal capacity. We’re still at the site supporting the ramp-up period and continuing to fine-tune the boilers,” reports Tapani Nummelin, Project Manager for the Valmet boiler delivery.
For the MAPA project, ARAUCO has invested heavily in technology, energy efficiency, and big data to make the processes more efficient. A comprehensive Valmet Industrial Internet services agreement was made to reach the next level. Expert support is given both on site and remotely through Valmet Performance Centers in South America and the Nordics.
“MAPA was designed to operate as an autonomous mill. To address this challenge, a complete training plan was developed for the operation and maintenance teams. To continue progressing in this challenge, we must consolidate the work of the teams involved. We aim to see the fruit of the autonomous operation in two to three years. We know this is a great challenge, and we also know that the contribution of autonomous operations to our results is very important,” says Araneda.
“ARAUCO is proud of this mill, where all the relevant considerations were incorporated to maximize the benefits for the company, including the safety of people, environmental performance, and efficiency in the use of resources,” Araneda concludes.
TEXT: Lotta Forssell and Kerstin Eriksson
PHOTOS: ARAUCO and Valmet
The project had special demands due to its location in an earthquake area. For example, all the main components are designed to withstand earthquakes. The electrical cabinets have lights on the outside that indicate if there is a voltage. The pulp drying and baling lines are installed on special earthquake-proof foundations, checked and certified by a third party. The dryer is supplied with special additional steel structures. In the recovery boiler, the steel structure is almost twice the weight of a similar boiler in the Nordics.
In conjunction with the MAPA project, ARAUCO agreed to carry out more than 30 projects defined in the citizen participation processes. These projects include the construction of a sewage treatment plant in Laraquete, rural drinking water projects in Horcones and Chillancito, and 11 neighborhood centers in various locations in the Arauco commune, and the launch of the DUOC UC Arauco campus, a superior education institution that seeks to educate professionals in the commune. Other investments include the delivery of nearly 1,500 houses to families in the area, the construction of the Horcones Nursery and new road access.
Heat and power production for pulp mills
With systematic improvements in energy efficiency modern pulp mills are over self-sufficient when it comes to renewable energy production. In addition to high power recovery boilers, Valmet has a strong power generation offering that includes fluidized bed boilers, biomass gasifiers, integrated pyrolysis, equipment for environmental protection and a wide selection of life-cycle services. Our expertise covers everything from fuel to stack.
First bale produced at Arauco MAPA project in Chile!
Jan 25, 2023
On Friday, January 20, 2023, Arauco produced the first bale of pulp by the new production line of the Arauco MAPA project, which includes major improvements to line 2 and the installation of this new production line (line 3) at the Arauco pulp mill, located in the Biobío region, in Chile.
ARAUCO MAPA project - Building the future mill
Apr 24, 2020
ARAUCO’s major expansion project in Chile - MAPA – is being constructed with a good pace. Once completed, the mill will focus on producing high-quality pulp and renewable energy. Advanced technology will secure efficient processes for years to come.