Emission-Free Pulping?

In mid-January, VTT, the research institution based in Helsinki, announced an “Emission-Free Pulping” research program, a five-year €15 million research project to “significantly reduce biomass burning and increase the product yield of wood material used for pulping from approximately 50% to around 70%.”

Eucalyptus pulp – a threat to NBSK producers?

Eucalyptus is a genus encompassing about 700 species of shrubs and trees. Depending on the species and your point of view, eucalypti are either invasive species that threaten our water supply or incredibly productive species that are being used to disrupt traditional pulp markets.

An ABC of closed Canadian pulp and paper mills

The recent announcement of the permanent closure of the pulp and paper mill in Powell River, BC, which had been idled since 2021, evoked some nostalgic thoughts about the many mill closures in the Canadian industry over the last half century.

Heat Pumps for energy savings in papermaking

If you’ve walked through a lot of paper mills you’ve probably seen a lot of waste heat emitted. Most paper mills try to recover some of this heat using heat exchangers.

The race for more sustainable textile fibres

In a previous blog article on textile fibres published in September 2022, I discussed the pros and cons of animal, vegetable and mineral (synthetic) fibres. But there’s more to the story!

The changing landscape of Canadian NBSK

Looking back over the last several years, the Canadian northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) pulp industry has been on a roller coaster ride.

Metsä – the epitome of sustainable forest-based business

Metsä is not only the Finnish word for forest, but also the name of a Finnish cooperative owned by 90,000 Finnish forest owners that collectively own over half of Finland’s private forests.

From breadmaking to bleaching

Cake batter can be easily mixed with a wooden spoon, but bread dough, with its higher solids content, requires a lot more energy to be properly mixed. Similarly, wood pulp becomes more difficult to mix with bleach liquor as the solids content increases, requiring higher mixing energy.

Textile fibres – animal, vegetable, or mineral?

Since humans first clothed themselves, clothing has changed a lot, especially in the last 100 years. Today, considering the number of humans on the planet, it is more important than ever to consider the sustainability aspects of the fibres and processes used to make that clothing.

Anomera nanocellulose – from university lab to commercial product

Sometimes the barriers put up by intellectual property lawyers to protect their invention lead to innovation that results in the development of a better product by its competitors. This was the case with the carboxylated nanocellulose product now being produced by Anomera in Temiscaming, Quebec.

PaperWeek 2022 virtual conference well-attended

For the second year in a row, PAPTAC’s annual Paperweek/BIOFOR conference was held virtually. Last year’s virtual format hosted on Microsoft Teams resulted in very high attendance by mill personnel and this year was no different – out of 969 registrants, 741 were from paper companies.

Tree DNA: from sex to violins

A few years ago I was at a roadside viewpoint in Utah looking at a slope covered with poplar trees  whose leaves were starting to turn yellow in the cold October air. An interpretive panel pointed out that while different shades of yellow could be seen in different groups of trees, all of the trees in each grouping were exactly the same shade of yellow.

The joy of math in the pulp and paper industry

Some children are reluctant students of mathematics; they’re not interested in learning equations they don’t think they’ll ever have a use for. I find there’s something magical, however, in plugging numbers into an equation and coming up with an answer – like solving a puzzle!

Deep Decarbonization and the Pulp and Paper Industry

In his book published in early 2021, “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”, Bill Gates points out that the world is currently adding 51 billion tons per year of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and needs to reach net-zero emissions by 2050 in order to meet the Paris Agreement target of limiting the increase in global temperature by only 1.5 °C.

The Evolution of Innovation in the Paper Industry

In a recent blog post, I discussed the importance of using the scientific method in evaluating new products. My historical reference to the origins of the term “snake oil” provoked some interesting reactions, but it was a device to attract the attention of readers, and apparently it worked!

Snake Oil or Miracle Product?

The use of “snake oil” as a derogatory phrase traces back to the late 1800s when "patent medicines" were often peddled by travelling salesman or on the back pages of newspapers, promising to cure a wide variety of ailments, with little proof of their curative powers.