The formation of Biomass101 – a consortium which aims to share the sound science of carbon-neutral bio-energy.

paperinsight bioeconomyA consortium of organisations formed from owners of forests, wood suppliers and major pulp and paper manufacturers has been recently established under the banner Biomass101. Collecting and sharing sound scientific information on carbon-neutral bio-energy, their aim is to provide informed information and hold the media accountable for for giving a fair and balanced view of the bio-economy.

The new consortium states:
‘We’ve started Biomass101 because we can’t sit idly by and watch the debate distorted by activists who, while they may have good intentions, are misguided and misinformed. That’s a part of responsible stewardship too—making sure people know the truth about the hands-on work we are doing each day. So we intend to monitor the coverage closely, and hold the press accountable when they get it wrong. As the leading coalition of people who care for and depend upon our forests, we offer a unique, first-hand perspective on these issues. And so we have a responsibility to add our voice to this conversation. Balanced coverage ought to mean scrutiny on the assumptions and motives of biomass critics, too. If they are pushing unrealistic, impractical, and harmful policies, then the press ought to be pointing that out.

The public deserves a fair, objective, and balanced conversation on carbon neutral biomass, one based on sound science, smart public policy, and common sense. Here are some of the core principles we intend to make sure are part of that conversation.

Educated guesses and willfully blinkered arguments that ignore the full carbon cycle do a disservice to a critical public discourse. Let’s have an honest discussion about carbon-neutral biomass, a dialogue that features openness, integrity, and accountability.’

For more details on the consortium, please click here .

Paper Optical Brightening Agents: What are they made of?

paperinsight speciality additivesStilbene-based optical brightening agents (OBAs) are used widely in the manufacture of coated and uncoated white paper and board with with around 125,000 tons being produced in countries such as China, Europe, India, Taiwan, and Indonesia.

Chemically, this type of OBAs is based on a diamino-stilbene structure (abbreviated to DAST or DASDA) which derives from toluene through various intermediates. DAST has recently been in short supply as key production units were closed for environmental reasons in China, where the largest production capacity is situated. It is estimated that the current DAST capacity is around 70,000 tons/year.

For paper optical brighteners and the stilbene brighteners used in detergents, the diamino-stilbene is then reacted with cyanuric chloride [CYCL] followed by one of the following: aniline, sulphanilic acid [SANS] or aniline disulphonic acid [ALDS], depending which OBA is required. A schematic of the route to producing OBAs is shown below.   OBA Key Materials – website[embeddoc url=”http://www.canda-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/OBA-Key-Materials-website.pdf” viewer=”google”]

 

BASF declares Force Majeure for a range of EO-based products

paperinsight marketBASF has declared Force Majeure due to technical problems with its ethylene oxide (EO) production.

The statement from BASF is as follows:

‘BASF’s European production sites for ethylene oxide have experienced significant technical problems leading to a Force Majeure declaration on ethylene oxide on May 19, 2015. Due to the ethylene oxide (EO) shortage BASF has subsequently to declare Force Majeure for EO-based products produced in Europe in the portfolio of Home Care and Industrial & Institutional Cleaning, Formulation Technologies, AgChem Additives and certain EO-based products in the portfolio of Personal Care.

The resulting effects of the Force Majeure for customers are currently being evaluated. BASF expects that the supply situation of the affected products will improve towards end of June. Meanwhile BASF is implementing measures to limit the consequences for its customers. BASF will continuously inform customers about the development and the details regarding the supply capability with the affected products.’

It is likely to affect some of the raw materials and products used in papermaking such as the ethoxylates used in for foam control, deposit control, cleaning etc

For the press announcement from BASF, please click here.

For examples of where ethylene oxide is used, click here.

Those e mail straps that tell you not to print – what do you think?

paperinsight ViewpointIf you fall in line with all the advice and pressure to comply with the environmental, legal and confidentiality guidelines, it is often the case that your e mail footer is far longer than your concise e mail.

Those demands to save tress – most of which are grown as a sustainable crop – and those please do not print statements need to be challenged. It is worth considering what is being demanded and whether the alternatives are worth considering. If you search on this topic, there are many websites which explain why paper and printing are not evil and should be considered as a sustainable alternative. Paper Story is worth a read, and in particular their links to alternative footers you could consider in your e mails.

Your choice …. consider the facts and decide.

Leeds City Region LEP is looking for SMEs to join the Management Boards of the Employer Ownership Pilot project

LCRLooks like a good opportunity for SMEs to get involved and contribute to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – they are looking for seven small and medium sized businesses to join the Management Boards of the Employer Ownership Pilot.

Click here for details.

For more details regarding the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, please click here.

European Patent Office: A pinch of mixed salt for Archroma as Blankophor lose optical brightener patent opposition

PatentThe European Patent Office (EPO) has ruled in favour of Archroma (Clariant) regarding an opposition filed by Blankophor against a patent filed for a mixed salt of an optical brightening agent. The patent in dispute is EP 2 260 145 B1 and the Archroma press release provides interesting detail: click here.

It is clear from the comments credited to Dr Bernd Hauschel that Blankophor are not happy with the decision and it is not difficult to agree with this viewpoint as the patent is creative in its case for proving it has an ‘inventive step’ – a general patentability requirement present in most patent laws, where an invention should be sufficiently inventive or ‘non-obvious’. The use of optical brighteners in the presence of most metal ions, or counter-ions, whether added to the paper making process or naturally present in the process is not new. It will be interesting to read the details of the EPO’s patent ruling.

Dr. Bernd Hauschel, Head of Technology and Intellectual Property at Blankophor GmbH, stated: “Even though we have a different view on the decision of the European Patent Office, we do respect their decision after we lost the opposition case against Archroma’s patent. For this reason, we decided to enter into a license agreement to avoid any infringement of the Archroma patent in the context regarding our products. We also like our patents to be respected.”

Archroma acquired the patent in the private equity purchase of the paper chemical business of Clariant and the intellectual property is owned by a company, Clariant Finance (BVI) Limited, Road Town, Tortola (VG), in the British Virgin Islands tax haven, despite the work being done by inventors based in Switzerland (formerly UK) and France.

Optical brightening agents are used in large quantities to improve the brightness or whiteness of paper and are sold to the paper industry for prices which generate low profit margins as the market is crowded with many manufacturers and suppliers competing for a market which is in decline in Europe and the USA and facing challenges in the rest of the world – let’s hope that this dispute did not erode the profits of the two companies.

 

Agri-papers: Kimberly-Clark launches a range of tissue & towel products containing bamboo and wheat straw

Kimberly-Clark Professional has launched GreenHarvest products, a cutting edge offering that incorporates rapidly renewable plant-based fiber, such as wheat straw and bamboo, into Kleenex and Scott brand towel and tissue products.  GreenHarvest offerings include Kleenex hard roll towel and Kleenex Cottonelle coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent bamboo fiber, and Scott multi-fold towels, standard roll bathroom tissue, coreless JRT Jr. bathroom tissue and coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent wheat straw fiber. (PRNewsFoto/Kimberly-Clark Professional)

Kimberly-Clark [KC] Professional has launched a range of products based on ‘rapidly renewable’ plant fibres such as wheat straw and bamboo. The range of ‘GreenHarvest’ products will be used in Kleenex and Scott brand towel and tissue products.

KC Professional is the first major towel and tissue manufacturer in North America to introduce products made with 20 percent plant fibre in place of tree or recycled fibre. To use these fibres, KC has had to develop new manufacturing processes for converting plant fibre into pulp.

GreenHarvest offerings include Kleenex hard roll towel and Kleenex Cottonelle coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent bamboo fibre, and Scott multi-fold towels, standard roll bathroom tissue, coreless JRT Jr. bathroom tissue and coreless standard roll bathroom tissue made with 20 percent wheat straw fibre.

In 2012, KC Professional became the first major towel and tissue manufacturer in North America to pilot the use of products containing fibre from sources other than trees. GreenHarvest products are the “next-generation” products, an initiative recognized by leading environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs).

The interest in using alternative fibres has been part of the KC strategy and they recently sponsored work to look at the ‘Life Cycle Assessment‘ of alternative fibres and the results are available here: click here.

For some additional commentary and press reports, please see the following:

For some earlier information, please see the following: Booshoot and Kimberly-Clark Sign Development Agreement to Support Production of Tissue Products Made with Bamboo Fiber

The Chelsea snip – time to tidy up your business?

IMG_1850As we approach the time of the Chelsea Flower Show the exhibitors are starting to get their show flowers and gardens into top shape for the judges and public.  Just before the show, the exhibits are looked over and attention given to detail, especially by those experts responsible for the fine pruning, and giving what was referred to on BBC Radio 2 the other day as the ‘Chelsea Snip’.

Why not take a moment to stand back and look at your business – are there any improvements which could be made? Could you fine-tune some areas? Could you improve your own performance? It sometimes helps to have a fresh pair of eyes and ears and if we can help, please contact us at Canda International. Whether you are a small or large business, a department, team or individual, we have a good track record of success in auditing what you do and helping to identify improvement opportunities.

To contact us, please click here.

WWF Study: Over 80% of future deforestation by 2030 confined to just 11 places

A recent WWF study forecasts that 11 places in the world will account for over 80% of deforestation by 2030 - 10 of the places are in the tropics.

The areas of concern or 'deforestation fronts' are: The Amazon; the Atlantic Forest and Gran Chaco; Borneo; the Cerrado; Choco-Darien; the Congo Basin; East Africa; Eastern Australia; Greater Mekong; New Guinea; and Sumatra.

The WWF report forecasts that more than 230 million hectares of forest will disappear by 2050 if no action is taken, and that forest loss must be reduced to near zero by 2020 to avoid dangerous climate change and economic losses.

For more detailed information on the work of the WWF and the press release concerning the Living Forest Report, please click here.

The Social Progress Index – an alternative way to look at the best places to live

Smile sadThere is a growing number of indexes which compare the different places we live in the world and rank them using various criteria – the the Economist’s Big Mac Index, the Legatum Prosperity Index and there are others if one only compares the suspect GDP figures issued by countries throughout the world.

TED is often a good place to go for ideas on most things, and they too have published an approach which makes a case for judging a place to live, not by its GDP, but by a Social Progress Index. Some countries are missed in their analysis but it is another way of looking at things. In the end it depends on what you personally value about where you live or where you would long to live.

Take a look at the Social Progress Index which gives an alternative way of looking at the best places to live. What do you think?