A Publication on World Pulp, Paper & Allied Industry

October-December'2001

Analysis

   

Nonwoody Plant Fibre Pulps : By Dr. Manfred Judt 

Is there a worldwide Fibre Shortage ?


In the past ten years when there were conferences on the shortage of fibres there were presentations on the availability of nonwood fibre resources, and Mr. Atchison (7) for many years was a strong supporter of using such raw materials, mostly agro waste materials like straws and bagasse for pulp production. He recently showed this updated table, see Table 2

Table 2 Estimated Availability of specific nonwood plant fibre materials worldwide and within the USA in metric tons   

Raw Materials

Potential Worldwide
Availability  BDMT

Potential Availability In
U.S. - BDMT

Sugar Cane  Bagasse                   

102.200.000

4.400.000

Straws:    
Wheat 600.000.000 76.000.000
Barley 195.000.000 7.000.000
Oat 55.000.000 5.000.000
Rye 40.000.000 400.000
Rice 360.000.000 3.000.000
Seed Flax 2.000.000 500.000
Grass Seed 3.000.000 1.100.000
Subtotal Straw 1.255.000.000 93.000.000
Stem Fiber, including Jute, Kenaf, Hemp, etc. (Whole Stalk) of which 
Bast Fiber = 3.000.000
13.700.000 --
Leaf Fiber, including Sisal Henequen and Maguey 500.000 --
Abaca or Manila Hemp (also a leaf fiber) 80.000 --
Reeds (estimated) 30.000.000 --
Bamboo (estimated) 30.000.000 --
Papyrus (estimated) 5.000.000 --
Sabai Grass 5.000.000 --
Total Cotton Staple Fiber 18.300.000 3.500.000
Total First and Second Cut Linters 2.700.000 500.000
Cotton Stalks 68.000.000 4.600.000
Corn Stalks 750.000.000 150.000.000
Grain Sorghum and Sweet Sorghum Stalks 252.000.000 28.000.000
Hemp Fiber and Tow 200.000

---

Grand Total 2.527.880.000 284.000.000
 
 
 

Table 3 Chemical Composition and Fiber Dimensions of Common Nonwoody Fibers (8)

Type of Fiber Cellulose (%) Lignin (%)

Fiber Dimensions in mm

Average Length Average Width
         
Long Fibers
Cotton 85-90 0.7-1.6 25 0.02
Seed Flax 43-47 21-23 30 0.02
Hemp 57-77 9-13 20 0.022
Abaca (Manila) 56-63 7-9 6.0 0.024
         
Medium Long: Wood Fibers
Coniferous 40-45 26-34 4.1 0.025
Sisal 47-62 7-9 3.3 0.02
Bamboo 26-43 21-31 2.7 0.014
Kenaf 44-57 15-19 2.6 0.02
Jute 45-63 21-26 2.5 0.02
Papyrus 38-44 16-19 1.8 0.012
Sugar Cane Bagasse 32-37 18-26 1.7 0.02
         
Short Fibers: Wood Fibers
Deciduous Fibers 38-49 23-30 1.2 0.03
Straws:      
Grain 31-45 16-19 1.5 0.023
Corn 32-35 16-27 1.5 0.018
Wheat 33-39 16-23 1.4 0.015
Rice 28-36 12-16 1.4 0.008
Esparto 33-38 17-19 1.2 0.013
This data is critical whether a fibre is suitable for papermaking or not.
 

Atchison´s message is: If the world would use 10 % of these plant fibre materials for pulping, - at 5o % yield - a paper pulp quantity of 125 mio tons could be produced.

The situation in Germany today is:
Straw pulp production stopped in the sixties. Special flax/hemp pulp production in small units in cigarette paper mills stopped in the seventies. About 16 ooo tons of special nonwood pulps,from Manila Hemp, flax, Sisal, bamboo fibres were imported in 1999 and used in speciality papers. also about 22 000 tons of linters pulp and rags.

  • Why are not more nonwoody pulps on the market?

Nobody talks of a shortage of fibres for paper making any more. The new hardwood pulp quantities from Indonesia and Brasil, the extra softwood pulp quanrtities from South America, and the ever increasing usage of recovered papers wordwide in paper and board making have eliminated fibre shortages. Therefore there is no need for more nonwoody pulps at present. And some of their characteristics are not always suitable for modern high speed paper making.

 
 

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