This report describes a case study performed by RAND and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory on government-industry research and development (R&D) aimed at solving materials problems encountered by the forest products industry. The principal problem addressed by the R&D was the failure of tubes that carry water and steam inside boilers used to recover chemicals during papermaking. These recovery boilers are an essential component of the papermaking process because, in addition to providing recycled chemicals to the wood digester, they also provide a significant portion of the process steam and electricity required for plant operation. The industry estimates that, on average, for each day a recovery boiler is shut down, a company loses $300,000. The government-industry team performed a systematic analysis, resulting in the recommendation of two possible solutions to the problem. This case study illuminated a number of critical factors in successfully solving industrial process problems through R&D that should guide future efforts.
The research described in this report was conducted by RAND Science and Technology for the Industrial Materials for the Future Program, Industrial Technologies Program of the U.S. Department of Energy.
This report is part of the RAND Corporation Monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.
Permission is given to duplicate this electronic document for personal use only, as long as it is unaltered and complete. Copies may not be duplicated for commercial purposes. Unauthorized posting of RAND PDFs to a non-RAND Web site is prohibited. RAND PDFs are protected under copyright law. For information on reprint and linking permissions, please visit the RAND Permissions page.
The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.