Coagulation–Flocculation as an Alternative Way to Reduce the Toxicity of the Black Liquor from the Paper Industry: Thermal Valorization of the Solid Biomass Recovered

  • Juan Domínguez-RoblesEmail author
  • Mª del Valle Palenzuela
  • Rafael Sánchez
  • Javier Mauricio Loaiza
  • Eduardo Espinosa
  • Antonio RosalEmail author
  • Alejandro Rodríguez
Original Paper


Pulp and paper mills generate a huge amount of wastewater and some of them, especially non-wood paper mills, do not possess recovery systems. In this research work, the effectiveness of coagulation–flocculation using poly (ethylene oxide), poly aluminium chloride and poly (dimethyl diallyl ammonium chloride) for the treatment of a black liquor obtained from a pulp mill (with wheat straw as the raw material) is reported. Furthermore, the calorific potential of the solid fraction generated after these treatments was investigated with the aim of enhancing this residue. Chemical oxygen demand (COD), turbidity and total solids (TS) were determined in the supernatants obtained from the different coagulation–flocculation processes. The treatment with poly (ethylene oxide) at pH 2.0 achieved the maximum reduction of TS (66%), COD (75%) and Turbidity (95%) in the black liquor and the precipitated solid fraction with the highest calorific value (19.9 MJ/kg).

Graphic Abstract


Pulp mill sludge Acidification Calorific potential Biorefinery Wastewater treatment 



The authors wish to acknowledge BASF Corporation for providing us with different coagulant samples to use in this study. The authors would also like to thank Ministry of Economy & Competitiveness of Spain (Project CTQ2013-46804-C2-2R), University of Córdoba (RNM 2323) and University Pablo de Olavide (PPI 1401) and, finally, we would like to thank MatchBetter Translations, namely, Carmen Torrella, for reviewing and translating our papers.

Compliance with Ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the co-authors, and the responsible authorities as well, have agreed on and authorized the publication of this manuscript upon the final revised version. There is no conflict of interest. This work has not been published previously, and it is not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Furthermore, if accepted, it will not be published elsewhere either, in English or in any other language, including electronically, without the written consent of the copyright-holder.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of CórdobaCórdobaSpain
  2. 2.Molecular Biology and Biochemical Engineering DepartmentUniversity Pablo de OlavideSevillaSpain
  3. 3.Chemical Engineering DepartmentUniversity of HuelvaHuelvaSpain

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