Sven Axel Rydholm (1923-1977)
Rydholm was the driving force in Billeruds’ decision to invest in an experimental factory with a production capacity of 10 tons per day within its research organization to study process equipment, process conditions and product qualities of continuous pulping processes and investment in a new Kraft pulp digester at the Gruvön mill. His decade long work in collaboration with AB Kamyr resulted in continuous pulping technology that is now the state-of-the-art in the industry. He obtained, among others, a patent on the path-breaking inverted top separator of the continuous digester. He was instrumental in Billeruds decision in 1965 to establish as forest plantation and pulp mill in Portugal (Celbi), a forerunner producing high quality eucalyptus market pulp. He was also a prime reason for Billeruds’ involvement in the Aracruz Cellulose development in Brazil.
Rydholm eagerly promoted technologies leading to sustainable development of the pulp and paper industry. The 1971 the new bleached Kraft pulp mill at Gruvön pioneered new equipment and processes including several systems of water recirculation, chemical and energy recovery and process control. He served as chairman of the first joint committee of experts from the Swedish Forest Industry and the Swedish EPA and showed his great ability and leadership in this endeavor.
Rydholm received the SPCI Ekman medal in 1971, the TAPPI Pulp Manufacture Division Award (and JCFC Richter Prize) in 1973, and an Honorary Doctorate in Chemical Engineering from the Royal Institute of Technology in 1974.
Sven Rydholm died on March 26, 1977 in Säffle, Sweden.