October 27 - 30, 2019 | St. Louis, Missouri

Session 10 (PEERS): Nonwood

(IBBC/PEERS Crossover Session)

Bringing Nonwoods to Market

Monday, October 28, 2019
3:30pm - 5:00pm

Session Chair: Tyler Campbell, Sustainable Fiber Technologies

Featured Presentations


Pulping and TCF Bleaching of Canadian Seed Flax Straw

      Presenter: Robert (Bob) Hurter, HurterConsult, Inc.

The Canadian Prairies grow a large amount of cereal crops, including flax seed. Because of the bast fiber in the flax straw, incorporation of the straw back into the soil is not possible so it is either burned off or removed from the fields. This study evaluated seed flax straw as a raw material for papermaking pulp production. Trials were carried out on Tornado-processed whole flax straw, Tornado-processed hydraulically separated flax bast fiber, commercially available dry decorticated flax bast fiber, and enzymatically treated Tornado-processed hydraulically separated flax bast fiber. Pulping was done using the soda-AQ process followed by TCF bleaching using a QPpZ sequence for a target brightness of greater than 85% ISO.


Review of the Economics, Technologies, and Products in the Nonwood Sector

       Presenter: Karthik Raghaven, Sim Agro Inc.

Non-wood like sugarcane bagasse, wheat straw, bamboo have long been used as raw materials for pulp making in Asian, African and S. American countries where wood is an expensive commodity and farming is the major industry. In recent years, non-wood fibers usage has expanded from unbleached pulp for paper board making to molding products that produce eco-friendly tableware and cups and ventured into production of cellulosic ethanol and by-products like lignin. However, one of the major hurdles for non-wood fiber is the supply chain for collecting the raw material and delivering it to the processing site. Unlike wood-based pulp mills the raw material availability dictates smaller pulp mills for non-wood fiber due to their availability. This is followed by the next set of challenges in technology and commercialization of these products. In this paper we examine the technologies and the economics of non-wood fiber and its various uses like pulping for packing and bleached pulp for printing and writing, molded products, cellulosic ethanol and its derivatives, lignin separation, long fiber pulp for specialty paper markets like filter paper. The special focus is on the North American market where there appears to abundance of non-wood fiber, but its uses are in nascent stage in terms of commercial uses and production. The other intent of this paper is to highlight the opportunity for innovation in supply chain, non-wood fiber processing and development of markets for the end -products.


Columbia Pulp's State-of-the-Art Wheat Straw Pulp Mill

      Presenter: Kristi Kobetich, Columbia Pulp

A new pilot plant and pulp mill in Columbia County, WA is introducing a new commercial non-wood market pulp and bio-polymers in the USA.

Satisfying an increasing demand for alternative fibers, the mills take waste wheat straw and generate wet-lap pulp for use in paper, tissue and molded fiber products. Production from the pilot plant located in Pomeroy, Washington began in the summer of 2018 and start-up of the main mill located at Lyon’s Ferry, Washington, is the summer of 2019. The facility is located in the heart of one of the densest wheat farming regions in North America. It will use 250,000 tons of waste wheat straw, a small fraction of that available within a 75-mile radius of the site, to yield 150,000 tons of pulp and 95,000 tons of bio-polymers every year.

Historically, this waste wheat straw is often burned in the field. Use of this material at the pulp mill reduces burning related air emissions by approximately 45,000 tons per year. An innovative water recycling system minimizes water use and eliminates the need for wastewater treatment or discharge. With reduced energy, water and chemical inputs, Columbia’s products have a 68% lower carbon footprint that traditional pulp mills.

This presentation will discuss some of the challenges of this project such as: designing systems to procure, manage and track raw materials, scaling a complex mill from a small R&D facility, working with customers on pulp properties and commercial acceptance, and training operators to safely and efficiently start up, operate and maintain a first-of-its-kind facility.


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