Paper360 - September/October 2015 - (Page 6)
Opportunity in a Test Tube
In an article in this issue the author says, "We know that the value
of any firm is derived from its ability to produce a growing stream of
cash flows." Few would dispute that statement, but is today's pulp and
paper industry doing everything it can to find those growing streams?
Two technologies appear to hold great promise in this regard:
bioproducts and nanocellulose technology.
It has taken a while, but bioproducts are now starting to make their
way in the industry. Regular announcements appear about new facilities or joint ventures, and in 2014, North America's advanced biofuel
industry reached a production capacity of more than 800 million gallons, up from the previous year and almost double the capacity in 2011.
Commercialization of nanocellulose, however, seems to be on a
longer path. This is not too surprising as so much development work
still needs to be done. But it is surprising that despite the opportunities nanocellulose technology presents, it doesn't seem to be on the
radar of many pulp and paper companies.
The application of nanocellulose will result in brand new materials
and products with unlimited applications that will provide producing
companies with unique competitive advantages. And it originates
from cellulose...the raw material of our own industry.
TAPPI's recent International Conference on Nanotechnology for
Renewable Materials attracted more than 265 technical experts from
24 countries and offered up a host of mind-blowing presentations.
Granted, much of the progress is still in the early stage, but the opportunities were eye-opening. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that by 2020
nanocellulose could add billions of dollars to the U.S. economy. Yet,
few pulp and paper companies were on hand to either talk about what
they are doing or get an idea of what is looming on the near horizon.
Perhaps this is because new technology is expensive to develop, or
maybe companies are just playing their cards close to their vest. But
opportunity was there...knocking.
At the time I attended the conference I was reading a book about
the Wright brothers and was struck by the similarity of the current
state of nanocellulose technology with the state of flight in their day.
Their efforts to fly required that they do huge amounts of original
research and testing; previous theories of wing lift proved to be wrong,
propeller design hadn't progressed beyond marine applications and
conditions were primitive at Kitty Hawk. All the while, people just
laughed at them, many declaring that flight was impossible.
Just as it seems inconceivable today that more people at the time
didn't recognize what the aviation industry would become, it seems
just as inconceivable that more pulp and paper companies aren't
jumping on the nanocellulose bandwagon.
With a little effort, it just might fly.
Editorial Director/Associate Publisher
LARRY N. MONTAGUE
President & CEO, TAPPI
VP Operations, TAPPI
INTEGRATED MEDIA DIRECTOR
email@example.com (352) 333-3345
GLENN OSTLE | firstname.lastname@example.org
BK Publication Design
Editorial Director, TAPPPI Journal
Online Exclusives Editor
Paper360º SEPTEMBER / OCTOBER 2015
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - September/October 2015
Over the Wire
Stora Enso Ostroleka PM5 Proves Less Is More
Valmet’s Strategy Combines Process Technology, Automation and Services
Doubletree Paper Upgrades Its Water Treatment System
WEIG-Karton Achieves Results With Web Inspection at Former and Press Section
Wants vs Cans
Rotary Press Compacts Sludge to Cake
TAPPI Journal Summaries
Foreign Exchange and the Pulp and Paper Industry
Index of Advertisers
Paper360 - September/October 2015