Global Innovation Exchange challenge: Valorisation of Paper Industry Waste

DCLM (operated by Veolia) want to find economically viable solutions to transform waste materials into valuable resources.

Opportunity Details


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Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding, plus pitch opportunity, support and mentorship if needed

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DCLM (operated by Veolia) would like to find economically viable ways to valorise waste produced from the pulp and paper industry. In their aim to be more sustainable and contribute to a circular economy strategy, DCLM is looking at reducing waste to landfill by seeking solutions utilising innovative methods to valorise dregs (mixture of black and green liquor) and effluent fibre that are produced in large quantities from the pulp and paper production processes. Solutions are invited from, but not limited to, the following sectors:

  • Waste management
  • Transport
  • Water
  • Environmental services
  • Manufacturing
  • Chemistry
  • Engineering
  • Industrial biology
  • Dolphin Coast Landfill Management (operated by Veolia) owns and runs a Hazardous landfill site in the North Coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, which is licensed by the National Department of Fisheries, Forestry and Environment (DFFE).

    Total Land Area of 140.6 hectares, of which, 49.2 hectares of this is permitted for H:H /Class A landfilling. Total Airspace of up to 20 million m3, to be divided into 13 separate cells. As of October 2014, cell 1 with an airspace of 700 000 cubic meters has been fully exploited and temporarily capped. Cell 2: 1.3000.000 m3 / Temporarily capped in February 2022. Cell 3: 1.550.000 m3 (approx) / Commissioned in January 2022.

  • DCLM, through their long standing work in the Waste Management industry has identified several waste streams that have the potential to be valorised and contribute to a more sustainable waste industry. One of the industries identified is the pulp and paper industry that has two waste streams currently being landfilled, namely, effluent fibre and dregs.

    Veolia is seeking practical, feasible and economically viable ways to utilise both of these waste streams productively, aligned with new waste regulations related to the Circular Economy. They are looking for solutions harnessing the beneficiation or valorisation possibilities of these materials. Veolia will share technical specs of current waste streams. Any solutions must be scalable across 10,000 tons per annum and be cost-neutral or profitable.

    Local solutions are preferable to minimise storage requirements of waste and to reduce transport costs. Solutions may lie within the fields of chemistry and industrial biology.

    A Circular Economy perspective would be most valuable as the ability to reuse, repurpose or recycle into another value chain would create a genuine difference. The game changing waste industry innovation would be the creation of a fraction or process ingredient that reduces reliance on natural resources and/or contributes in the reduction of waste to landfill.

  • The waste composition is slightly variable and tonnages are dependent on production. Samples and full spectrum analysis are available upon request (requires NDA agreement). The SVOC and VOC analysis both indicate that all determinants for volatile organic compounds measured were below detection limits.

    The waste consists of black and green liquor dregs, which are dried to a filter cake, and effluent fibres, which are separated into solid and liquid.

    For further information on the materials being worked with, including chemical analysis and content, visit the link below.

  • The identified solution must:

    • Provide a sustainable solution with the intent to reduce carbon emissions
    • Possible solutions into the sale or re-use of the waste streams.
    • Solutions must be practical for South African environment
    • Solutions must deal with 10,000t of dregs and 10,000t of effluent annually
    • Solutions must be applicable on DCLM or client sites
    • Solutions can be incorporated into the landfill site
    • Be able to treat approximately 10-15,000 tons per annum (please detail any new infrastructure requirements for this solution)
    • Solution must be able to deal with hazardous materials
    • Solution must be applicable in modular format, so it may be scaled progressively
  • Entrants to this competition must be:

    • Established businesses, start-ups, SMEs or individual entrepreneurs
    • Africa-based entrants, UK-based entrants and those from the rest of the world are invited to apply

    Applicants must ensure that receiving the £25k seed funding will not exceed the £315,000* state aid threshold under UK Minimal Financial Assistance regulations over the current and last 2 fiscal years [or *200,000 euros for applicants affected by EC de minimis regulations]

    • Up to GBP 25,000 seed funding (Subject to T&C)
    • Opportunity to pitch your solution to DCLM/Veolia
    • Collaboration/partnership with DCLM/Veolia
    • Technical support and Mentorship from DCLM/Veolia team
    • Mentorship programme facilitated by KTN
      Sector expertise from KTN
    • Support in the development of a prototype or pilot
    • Invitation to attend or present at KTN events
    • Investor introductions (if investment is required)
    • Application support for any Innovate UK or similar competitions that are relevant

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