We strongly believe “Biotechnology” is going to be the future of the processing technology in the Paper industry, says Dr. Sivaram Pillai, Proklean Technologies 

Key Points:

“Writing, printing, and hygiene sectors are enjoying a more prosperous period due to the existing supply gap”

"Our Eco-friendly Slime and Deposit Control Program for Paper Machines is FDA-registered, completely eliminates the need for biocides and hypo in slime and deposit control program for paper machines, while simultaneously delivering superior results"

"Our innovations aren't just theoretical concepts but practical, real-world solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into the operations of the mills we serve"

Recently, The Pulp and Paper Times took an exclusive Interview with Dr. Sivaram Pillai, Co-Founder & Director (R&D), Proklean Technologies Pvt. Ltd. Our team tries to learn the way of working Proklean Technologies with a paper mill process, introduction of new chemicals, establishment of new innovation centre at Chennai, and how Bio based and eco-friendly processes are replacing chemical intensive pulping as well as paper making in the mills?. Here is his full Interview:

The Pulp and Paper Times:

Q: Give us a small Introduction to Proklean Technologies and its emergence in Pulp and Paper Industry.

Proklean Technologies has made remarkable progress in promoting sustainability in the Pulp and Paper industry through its innovative probiotics and biobased products, without compromising cost or performance. Our extensive research has led to the development of the 'ProCharta' product line, which offers sustainable and eco-friendly solutions for the pulp and paper industry. The ProCharta range of specialty bio-chemicals are instrumental in reducing the use for cooking, bleaching, and delignification chemicals. Additionally, minimizes the generation of sulphides and mercaptans during the cooking process while offering eco-friendly alternatives to biocides and hypo in paper machines. This not only results in lower emissions but also enhances profitability, all while contributing to a reduction in the carbon footprint of paper mills. 

Thus ProCharta' serves as a sustainable and environmentally friendly gateway for the paper industry, addressing issues related to hazardous chemicals and environmental concerns while optimizing the utilization of water resources within paper mills. By offering a sustainable and biodegradable alternative, 'ProCharta' has the potential to positively impact the entire paper industry, enabling it to reduce its environmental footprint and produce high-quality paper through natural means. This initiative aims to drive the paper industry toward cleaner and greener processes by enhancing water conditions and, consequently, the overall environment.

Q: How does Proklean Technologies evaluate its' ‘chemistry’ with Indian Paper Mills?

All technologies, products and solutions that Proklean develops stay within three major boundary conditions: They have to deliver excellent performance for the user, should be biodegradable and should be non-toxic. Towards achieving this we use two technology platforms – One based on fermentation using Probiotics and the second a biobased formulation development approach. Obviously, they are both green chemistry platforms and using them we have been able to develop industry-first solutions for the Pulp& Paper industry.

Q: Post-COVID pandemic, Paper Industry has faced drastic changes like raw material crisis, increase in other input costs and demand, What is Proklean Technologies’ quick review about the present condition of the Indian Paper Industry?

The current state of the paper industry is characterized by an interesting dynamic. While there is a consistent growth in demand, ranging from 8% to 10%, one segment of the industry, namely the packaging sector, finds itself in a somewhat challenging position. On the positive side, the costs associated with raw materials and logistics have generally stabilized, providing some relief to industry players. However, despite the increasing demand for paper products, the packaging sector is grappling with an issue of oversupply. This oversupply condition has introduced a degree of strain and competition within the sector. Conversely, other segments of the paper industry are experiencing more favorable circumstances. In particular, the writing, printing, and hygiene sectors are thriving. These segments are benefiting from the fact that there still exists a noticeable supply gap in the market. Many paper mills are actively working to expand their capacities to meet the demand in these specific sectors. 

In essence, while the overall paper industry is witnessing growth in demand and relative stability in costs, the packaging sector's challenge lies in managing the surplus supply. On the other hand, the writing, printing, and hygiene sectors are enjoying a more prosperous period due to the existing supply gap, prompting mills to expand their production capabilities to capitalize on this opportunity.

Q: One can relate using of chemicals in paper manufacturing to better quality and enhanced efficiency. How does Proklean Technologies’ products win the’ trust’ of paper mills’ owners? What new innovative chemical products have been developed by Proklean Technologies and delivered to the paper mills?

Over the last few years, consumers across the globe have become more aware of the harm caused by toxic chemical usage and therefore have begun to demand products and services made without the use of toxic chemicals. Consumers of paper, be it an end consumer or an industrial customer, are also no exception to this. What started with ECF paper has now extended to an increasing demand for paper and paper products which are free from chemical residues. As I have mentioned earlier, products and solutions developed by Proklean are non-toxic and biodegradable. They also deliver excellent results while also reducing the cost of operations by reducing input costs. As such, Proklean offers what the paper mill owner is looking for. We have been gaining the trust of our customers through consistent delivery of the above features and benefits.

We have implemented a range of innovative and environmentally safe solutions, to mention just a few.

Our Cooking Enhancement Solution designed for use during the cooking stage consist primarily of biodegradable bio-surfactants combined with probiotics, completely devoid of anthraquinone. The surfactant properties enhance the penetration of the cooking liquor, facilitating the dissolution of lignin and related byproducts. This leads to effective cooking without compromising fiber integrity, resulting in enhanced yield, reduced reject rates, and a decrease in alkali consumption. Additionally, the probiotics present in the formulation assist in converting H2S and other mercaptans into non-toxic sulfur compounds, leading to a substantial reduction in both plant and environmental odors.

Our Eco-friendly Slime and Deposit Control Program for Paper Machines is FDA-registered, completely eliminates the need for biocides and hypo in slime and deposit control program for paper machines, while simultaneously delivering superior results. It extends the boil out intervals and reduces paper breaks, thereby improving the lifespan of the paper machine by eliminating the corrosive effects of hypochlorite.

Q: The Indian Paper industry has seen massive capital investment in the last five years, and new capacities have emerged in the market. Paper Chemical needs several trials for better results. What major changes does Proklean Technologies see in Paper Industry as far as investing in chemical technology?

As the Paper industry is witnessing a rapid growth to match the fast-growing demand, it is also undergoing multiple new and innovative technological advancements which is making the industry more efficient and environmentally friendly. The most prominent theme across all these technological advancements is sustainability, which focuses on reducing waste, energy, water and pollution through innovative bio-based technologies and recycling methods.

With chemicals playing major part of pulp and paper processing, critical focus of the industry is to optimize or eliminate chemicals through renewable and biodegradable alternatives that are of low carbon footprint, safer to use, more energy & water efficient and leaves least environmental impact. 

Hence we strongly believe “Biotechnology” is going to be the future of the processing technology in the Paper industry. We are already seeing that bio based and eco-friendly processes are replacing chemical intensive pulping as well as paper making in the mills. Microorganisms are breaking down the fibers, controlling odour and emissions, enhancing cooking and bleaching instead of chemicals,replacing and/or reducing chemical use, water and energy consumption.

As a pioneer in offering bio-based solutions to the Pulp& Paper industry, Proklean is fully geared up and committed to continuouslyinvest in innovative bio-based chemistries and technologies and offer new ecofriendly solutions to the Paper industry and thereby help our customers become even more successful in an efficient and environment friendly way.

Q: Please shed some light on Proklean Technologies’ product offering for the pulp and paper industry and its manufacturing facilities.

ProCharta range presents innovative green technology products that provide precise and effective solutions. Within our product range, you'll find cooking enhancers, bleach boosters, performance boosters(slime & deposit control, Antiscalants, pitch control, stickies control etc), and odour controllers that distinguish themselves through their non-toxic and biodegradable characteristics. We are proud to have made significant advancements in promoting sustainability within the pulp and paper industry, all while maintaining cost-effectiveness and performance excellence.

Q: Odor in Paper is a major hurdle in making food-grade paper. How does Proklean Technologies provide a solution for making odor-free paper?

Typically, odors stem from volatile sulfur and nitrogen compounds. ProCharta products employ two mechanisms to reduce odors:

1. The biochemicals in the formulation can react with volatile organic compounds, converting them into non-odor-causing soluble compounds, effectively diminishing odors.
2. Two microbe species in the product, which are resilient to high temperatures, have the capability to utilize sulfur and nitrogen as an energy source. Consequently, they consume these compounds, reducing the generation of odor-causing volatile compounds.

The overall effectiveness of ProCharta formulations results from the combination of these two mechanisms. This innovative and FDA-registered approach has led to a significant reduction in odors, particularly in food-grade paper production.

Q: Globally, the paper industry has been heading towards less-chemical paper making gradually, how does Proklean Technologies see this trend and support the paper mills in achieving this goal?

The purpose for which Proklean was established, is to reduce the use of toxic chemicals which cause harm to the environment during their manufacture as well us in their application life cycle. As I have mentioned earlier, all products and solutions we offer for the pulp & paper industry are designed to reduce the consumption of toxic chemicals which persist in the environment. Since all the solutions that we offer also reduce input and operational costs, paper mills are happy to use them.

Q: How is Proklean Technologies efficiently marketing its products in India with good service support infrastructure?

The approach embraced by Proklean is fundamentally centered on providing solutions. We have consistently prioritized a solution-driven approach aimed at addressing and resolving some of the most pressing challenges encountered by industries through innovative and sustainable solutions. One of the key strengths of Proklean lies in our seasoned and proficient team. This team works closely with each and every mill, offering invaluable technical support and service in a timely manner. We actively engage with our clients, understanding their specific needs and concerns, and tailor our applications accordingly. By adopting this approach, we ensure that our innovations aren't just theoretical concepts but practical, real-world solutions that can be seamlessly integrated into the operations of the mills we serve. This collaborative and hands-on approach allows us to make a tangible impact by providing effective, sustainable, and customized solutions that address the specific pain points faced by our industry partners.

Q: Please shed some light on Proklean Technologies’s research and development facility in India. Can we expect some new offerings for the paper industry? Any overseas expansion is expected in future.

Proklean has very recently inaugurated an expanded Innovation Centre at Chennai and this facility also includes a well-equipped Pulp & Paper application laboratory. About 30+ scientists and technologists work in this facility. Currently, we have products/solutions for cooking, bleaching, and sanitation solutions which are all biobased. Our research team is diligently working on expanding the range of products and solutions across the entire gamut of operations of the virgin and recycled paper industry. 

In recent months, we have initiated collaborations with international clients. We have effectively concluded our pilot-scale studies for several crucial applications and anticipate receiving substantial commercial orders soon from well-established customers in the Southeast Asia and Middle East regions.

Q: What is Proklean Technologies offering for water treatment?

Proklean has extended its unique bio-based platform to offer yet another one of the kind and path-breaking solutions for water treatment applications as well. This includes our chemical free programs for cooling water treatment, RO cleaning solutions, Sewage treatment (STP)and effluent treatment(ETP) programs. The range includes powerful and effective antiscalants, corrosion inhibitors, microbial retardants, slime & biofilm-reducing agents,etc. 

Our unique proposition in water treatment is eliminating chemical biocides, chlorine free and acid-free programs for cooling towers and RO treatment. In STP & ETP programs, we provide an effective combination of probiotic and bio-based programs which enhances the effectiveness of the waste treatment, reduces sludge generation, COD, BOD and other effluent parameters significantly and ensures meeting the environmental norms thereby enabling recycling and reuse of the treated water which otherwise needs to be discarded.

Additionally, for biogas plants, we have an effective solution for enhancing yield and methane gas generation of the bio-digestors and improving the digestate quality fit enough to be used as biofertilizers.

We believe our water treatment solutions will be a strong complimentary offering to our Pulp & Paper solutions range and help us to add further value to our customers in the Paper Industry through end-to-end solutions.


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