The New Papermaking Additives and Biocide Chemicals Meeting the Challenges of change

Posted May 12, 2016 in Pulp and Paper Industry by Elizabeth Tischer

The paper manufacturing industry doesn’t have a great track record historically in terms of its environmental friendliness. But in response to the growing concerns of climate change and the environment, the industry has made some significant improvements in recent years through the use of a new breed of additives and inclusion of more environmentally friendly biocide chemicals. 

Many of the additives the industry used in the past were classed as toxic, but research and development into the use of fully degradable fibers to replace petroleum based products (synthetic polymers and resins for example) with greener materials such as micro and nano-scale cellulosic fibers, could change all that. 

Cellulosic nano-composites are being thought of as one of the most promising areas of development in terms of plant based additives. Their incorporation into the pulp and paper manufacturing process holds great promise and heralds a significant step forward in terms of eco-friendliness. 

The development of laminates that provide high bending stiffness 

In the ongoing battle to improve paper based products both in terms of performance and eco-friendliness, new processes and additives are being brought into play, to help to improve things like high bending stiffness. In the past, good bending stiffness was achieved by a process that consumed large amounts of pulp, producing paperboard and sheets that had to be fluted and glued together in order to achieve the desirable stiffness with appropriate flexibility.

The latest single step lamination production methods now use much less pulp, and incorporate renewable materials with biocide chemicals that give the products the required bending stiffness. 

New production methods now use cheap expandable fillers and other additives to achieve an expansion that reacts in situ during the manufacturing process. The new core material gives the product its high bending stiffness while the density and size are readily adjustable, allowing greater precision over the degree of stiffness and the cost of manufacture. 

Some of these new laminates can be used for products that come into contact with food (food packaging). One of the comparable significant advantages with these new types of laminates is that they weigh half as much by volume when compared to traditional paperboard materials. 

New grease resistant coating for food industry packaging 

Another significant improvement in paper-based products for the food industry is in relation to grease resistant coatings. Many of the old processes for creating these coatings used additives made from fluoridated materials or large amount of polyolefins and other plastics. 

A new type of grease resistant coating has been developed that is much more environmentally friendly. It is durable, thin, has a high resistance to folding and creasing yet still maintains its oleophobic properties. It also has a great temperature range, being able to stand up to some of the high temperatures required of food packaging. 

Better eco-friendly colored paper manufacture 

Another significant forward step has been made in relation to producing colored paper, through the development of new additives and a high retention pigment coloring system. The new system bonds more effectively with the cellulose fibers. 

As well has significantly reducing the time it takes to clean the machinery that produces colored paper, the new process also means that there is less wastage in drainage waters, thereby helping to improve the process’s eco-friendliness. 

New enzymes for pulp bleaching 

The bleaching of pulp has long been an area of controversy in the paper manufacturing industry with regard to the environment. Chlorine and chlorine derivative additives which are both cheap and versatile have long been used and criticized by various environmental groups due to the discharge of chlorinated organic compounds left over by the process. 

The industry is now turning to the use of a new group of additives, enzymes and biocide chemicals for use as bleaching solutions. The use of oxidoreducstases in the pulp bleaching process produces a much more environmental friendly process. When combined with traditional xylanases, it results in a substantially reduced bleaching chemical agent that provides the pulp industry with a more cost-effective as well as a more bio-friendly solution. 

The new breed of additives and biocide chemicals that are meeting environmental challenges 

Although the paper industry has received a lot of bad press in the past with particular regard to its green credentials (or lack of them), the industry has made some significant changes and improvements over the past decade. Through the development new non-toxic additives and the incorporation of greener biocide chemicals, the industry is on track towards meeting the environmental challenges it faces both today and in the future.

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