At Proklean, we believe in holistic satisfaction: to provide thoughtful, sustainable solutions that have a positive impact on our customers, our community, and our planet. This was the ethos behind our eco-friendly products: to create effective, eco-friendly products that are safe for us and our planet.
As India struggles to breathe in these trying times, we knew we needed to go one step further. The second wave of COVID-19 has devastated the country, creating a crisis of oxygen supply in India. Every ton of oxygen made available for hospitals saves precious lives. We wanted to positively contribute to our country’s critical need of oxygen by developing a unique product, ProWhite, primarily for the paper industry. Through ProWhite, we have helped improve oxygen availability in our own small way by helping our industrial customers reduce oxygen usage and divert the same for emergency medical requirements without impacting their operations.
HOW WE DID IT
The Paper industry is a large consumer of oxygen, as oxygen is used for removing lignin and for bleaching purposes. Proklean, with its range of products under ProCharta, has a strong presence in the paper industry and has helped paper companies save on their operating costs by reducing their chemical usage. Our bio-based formulations have replaced hazardous chemicals and cut auxiliary chemical requirements significantly by improving efficiency.
To combat the oxygen crisis, the government has directed companies to divert industrial oxygen to hospitals for their medical requirements. This meant that many businesses could potentially be impacted deeply. One of our customers who runs a paper mill based on Agri waste approached us for a solution, as their mill would come to a grinding halt without oxygen. With a desire to help and a passion for identifying innovative, sustainable solutions, we immediately formed a specialised team and arrived at a plan.
ProWhite, our flagship product for enhancing delignification and bleaching efficiency was chosen for this trial. The dosage quantity was estimated, the protocol was clearly established, and detailed instructions to the operating team (consisting of Proklean’s executives and the paper mill’s engineers) were provided.
DAY BY DAY ACCOUNT
24th April: ProWhite was fed into the system as per specified protocol and the oxygen feed was cut by 20%. The team at the site updated our Chennai team regularly. Hourly data showed that all parameters were stable and paper quality was consistent. . After monitoring for four hours, we established that the system was stable. We then cut the oxygen supply by another 20% after 4 hours, and continuously monitored the progress. Consequently, the paper brightness started to show a slight dip and to compensate for the reduced oxygen, downstream chemicals were marginally increased to obtain the required brightness.
After 8 hours, we brought the oxygen feed further down to 50%. As this has never been done before, we decided to be extra cautious and monitor the plant’s stability for the rest of the day. Data was updated every hour and the team was on its toes, vigilant and waiting to take corrective action if needed.
25th April – The plant was stable for more than 12 hours post the drastic oxygen cut Both our teams became increasingly confident. After reviewing, the engineers at the paper mill were now ready to take the next big step. ProWhite dosage was increased and oxygen feed was cut further. Now oxygen was at 25% of standard levels. The brightness of paper showed indications of dropping, but we quickly countered this by marginally increasing the downstream chemicals. . No further change was done for the next 8 hours.
The plant was stable and with paper brightness being maintained, confidence was high all around. The teams debated over the next major step, whether to cut oxygen completely. After carefully going through the pros and cons and exchanging notes on corrective action, we decided to take the leap.. As the second shift started, oxygen was cut off completely. Brightness started to drip but the teams were well prepared. The dosage of auxiliary chemicals was immediately adjusted, and brightness was restored. Data updates shifted to every 30 minutes in light of the crucial stage.
26th April: The great D-day! It was now close to 20 hours since we cut off oxygen. We received a call from the on-site team with great news – the plant operations were smooth, and paper output was consistent! Despite having worked round the clock, their voices showed no signs of fatigue- on the contrary, they were brimming with excitement at this breakthrough. We soon got a call from the top brass of the paper mill, who was overjoyed and filled with pride that they could now divert their entire supply of industrial oxygen towards medical emergencies. All around, we felt a great sense of fulfilment and joy.
27th April: A look at the overall chemical consumption however, showed that the paper mill had suffered a cost increase as they had to compensate for lack of oxygen. Our team assured them that this was temporary- once our products came into circulation (which would take about two days), chemical consumption would reduce along with costs.
30th April: Starting from 29th April, chemical dosage was reduced at every stage gradually and paper continued to show consistent brightness. By the third shift of 30th April, the calculations showed that the plant had actually started to save significant costs. The plant did not require oxygen for operations and the chemical costs were at its lowest – a win-win!
THE FUTURE OF PAPER
With ProWhite, we at Proklean have shown the power of its technology and the commitment of our team to rise to the occasion. We are eager to work with paper mills to help them run their mills and divert their oxygen supply for medical needs. Our experience has shown that paper mills can do this without any increase in their running costs- in fact, they actually stand to gain from this.
As the saying goes, “Necessity is the mother of invention”. In these difficult times, Proklean rose to the need of the hour and we are now excited to work on new growth plans- in line with our vision to add value to customers, investors, and the community.