Making Paper from Straw
17 Mar 2008
BioRegional MiniMills will soon be ready to demonstrate their new, award-winning technology that makes paper from straw.
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BioRegional Paves the Way for a Global Revolution
BioRegional MiniMills will soon be ready to demonstrate their new, award-winning technology that makes paper from straw. ‘We are looking forward to starting up the demonstration plant any day now and paving the way for a global paper revolution,’ says the company’s director Sue Riddlestone.
BioRegional MiniMills estimate that straw could replace up to 20 per cent of imported wood pulp currently used by the UK paper industry. It could be worth some £27 million to UK farmers.
Sue Riddlestone explains: ‘There is a high level of support in the paper industry for using a UK-produced pulp. It is an excellent material for paper making.’
Straw, which is bulky and uneconomic to transport over large distances, is best pulped locally at a much smaller scale. Previously there has been no technology to deal with the effluent produced by the small pulp mills, known as black liquor’. The only available technology operated on a large scale. Consequently straw mills have all been closed down, apart from in some developing countries, where they continue to operate and cause significant water pollution.
The BioRegional technology can however, recover energy from this effluent, which then provides renewable energy to power the mill. Pulping chemicals are also recovered for re-use in the pulping process. It is this closed-loop system that prevents harmful effluent from entering rivers and watercourses.
The MiniMill technology can be also installed easily at existing paper mill sites or in new small-scale mills near to sources of the raw material. By en-couraging local production, the MiniMill technology supports the development of local jobs and industries and helps to reduce carbon emissions from transport.
The company also wants to transfer their technology to rapidly developing countries like China and India, where the technology is urgently needed. The aim is to start a new wave of smaller scale local paper production from agri-cultural residues the world over and meet global demand for paper pulp five times over. Despite this potential, at present less than 10 per cent of the world’s paper is made from this waste.
Contact: BioRegional Development Group
BedZED Centre, 24 Helios Road,
Wallington, Surrey, SM6 7BZ
Tel: +44 (0)20 8404 4880
MiniMills technical staff feeding straw into the hammer mill in preparation for pulping.
Photo: © BioRegional
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