US Biobased Products Industry: Economic Impact Analysis

paperinsight bioeconomyA detailed report commissioned by the USDA’s ‘BioPreferred® Program’, has been released. Some highlights are:

  • A conservative estimate of 40,000 bio-based products were sold in the USA in 2013 with an estimated value of $126 billion.
  • The bio-based industries contributed $369 billion to the US economy in 2013.
  • The bio-based products industry directly employed 1.5 million Americans in 2013.
  • The biobased products are currently displacing about 300 million gallons of petroleum per year – equivalent to taking 200,000 cars off the road.

The seven sectors considered to be involved the US bio-based products industry were:

  • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Bio-refining
  • Biobased Chemicals
  • Enzymes
  • Bioplastic Bottles & Packaging
  • Forest Products
  • Textiles

A good read for those interested in the bio-based economy and the future potential of bio-renewables.

For the full report, please click here

What do journalists think of the future of journalistic work?

paperinsight ViewpointInterested to know what journalists think of their future? Robert G Picard of the Oxford University, Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism has produced an interesting and insightful report on, ‘Journalists’ Perceptions on the Future of Journalistic Work‘.

Of those journalist which responded to the survey (509 journalists across the Western world), the conclusions were:

  • Journalism will be a harder job with less institutional support in the future.
  • Journalism will not be less satisfying or less independent.
  • There are concerns that journalists will have to work harder and have to think more about personal branding and entrepreneurship, and that they cannot count on stable employment, full-time jobs, or indeed life-long journalistic careers.
  • The respondents generally see journalism as a relatively stable collection of fundamental practices and techniques that is not dependent on medium or existentially threatened.

Picard points out that the results are striking for three reasons:

  • Journalists are clearly not in denial about the direct impact fundamental changes in the media will have for journalism as a form of work.
  • The respondents recognise that these changes are likely to make journalism more stressful, individualistic, and less stable, but they are not particularly pessimistic about the future of journalism as a professional practice.
  • The results are generally consistent across gender, age, and how long people have worked as journalists.

Picard concludes that many journalists are very clear eyed about how their profession is changing, and are not stuck in the past as some commentators assume.

He states that the challenge for news media, individual journalists, and journalistic professional associations, then, is to make sure that the often radical changes involved in journalism moving from 20th-century organisations to 21st-century ones are accompanied by the development of strong forms of 21st-century journalistic professionalism and the means to support them.

To view the detailed report, please click here.

The interest & investment in nanocrystalline cellulose continues – two new commitments are made in Europe

paperinsight bioeconomyOn the 11th March, 2015, Sappi Limited announced that it will build a pilot-scale plant for the low-cost production of Cellulose NanoFibrils (nanocellulose) at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.

The pilot plant is expected to be operational within nine months and the raw material would be supplied from any of Sappi’s Saiccor, Ngodwana and Cloquet dissolving wood pulp plants. The pilot plant will test the manufacturing of dry re-dispersible Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) using the proprietary technology developed by Sappi and Edinburgh Napier University. The CNF produced by Sappi will have unique morphology, specifically modified for either hydrophobic or hydrophilic applications. Products produced using Sappi’s CNF will be used in areas such as lighter and stronger fibre-reinforced composites and plastics, in food and pharmaceutical applications, and in rheology modifiers as well as in barrier and other paper and coating applications.

The location of the pilot plant at Brightlands Chemelot Campus provides Sappi with easy access to multiple partners with whom Sappi will seek to co-develop CNF-containing products across a range of applications.

The pilot plant is the precursor for Sappi to consider the construction of a commercial CNF plant and fits with Sappi’s strategy which includes seeking growth opportunities by producing innovative performance materials from renewable resources.

Please click here for the detailed Sappi announcement.

In another announcement, MoRe Research, Holmen and SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden, stated that they are investing in, ‘Europe’s first pilot facility for nanocrystalline cellulose‘, in Örnsköldsvik, Sweden.

The role of each of the participants can be summed up as follows:

  • The pilot facility is located directly adjacent to MoRe who have in-depth knowledge of cellulose, and wide-ranging experience of pilot operations and extensive laboratory and analytical resources.
  • As SP operates in many different sectors it will be able to pave the way for commercially interesting applications beyond the forestry sector’s traditional boundaries.
  • MoRe and SP will have central roles in the construction and operation of the facility, which is expected to be in place during the first half of 2016.
  • The operation in the pilot plant is based on technology developed by an Israeli start-up company Melodea.
  • Holmen is working actively to develop new products based on raw materials from forests and are participating as a catalyst in the creation of the facility and in their role as a co-owner of Melodea

The facility will allow interested companies to develop nanocrystalline cellulose from cellulose-based material on a large scale.  As with the Sappi announcement, the interesting material properties of nanocrystalline cellulose were emphasised, and examples were given for potential applications – as a building material, in biocomposites, printed electronics and dye additives.

The plant is supported financially by Västernorrland County Administrative Board, Holmen, the Kempe Foundations, SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden and the Önnesjö Foundation.

Please click here for the SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden announcement.

 

Much change at Fera, the Food and Environment Agency

Capita, a national business services provider, has paid £20 million to acquire a 75 per cent stake in the Food and Environment Research Agency (Fera), based at Sand Hutton, just outside York, UK.

In addition to investing £20 million to acquire the organisation, Capita has indicated that it will invest a further £10 million, which will be boosted by £9 million funding from Fera and Newcastle University to create a new research institute, bringing 40 research posts to the city of York and upgrading the site’s facilities.

For details of The Press article, please click here