Straw and The Pulp and Paper Industry

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The consumption and demand for paper and paper products is tremendously increasing and amplifying. The accelerating demand for paper has led companies to narrow in on other possible materials for manufacturing pulp and paper. The question is, what do straw and the pulp and paper industry have to do with one another?

Recent Research Findings

Recent studies carried out in countries like Bangladesh, China, and India have established that straw from rice is a viable alternative in the manufacture of paper. What’s more is the fact that it is readily available in large quantities in the two most populous nations. This is apart from the fact that it is easily renewable, and it is also a byproduct of food.

Mixing Straw with Other Products to Produce Paper

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In North America and elsewhere in places like India there are companies who have been developing ways of converting what they call “Green Harvest Products” such as wheat and rice straw into pulp and paper.

Rice and wheat straw contain lignocellulose elements that combine well with other substances or chemicals to yield high-quality paper. For instance, over 20% of paper products from China, and more than 40% of paper manufactured in India employ the use of fiber from agricultural residue and not from wood. 

The industries that manufacture this kind of paper are large, modern mills producing pulp on a commercial scale. They use the straw purely or mixed with fibers from other sources such as wood pulp that is recycled or which is still virgin. Straw fiber has long been used to make pulp, but the news that is grabbing the headlines in the industry pertains to the method the straw is being converted into paper-producing pulp.

Mixing and Extracting Technology

What is at stake here is not where to get the raw products. Straw is abundant and seemingly widely available in farming regions. The problem might be in the difficulty of extracting the cellulose from the pulp. However, custom process equipment stands to help develop advanced extraction by using industrial mixing technology for a ready solution.

Pulp’s Potential for Bonding

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The process of getting fiber pulp to bond correctly can be challenging. For instance, studies are underway to find out how wheat/rice straw can be blended and used for upgrading recycled wood pulp. In papermaking, the fibers from straw have remarkably stable bonding capabilities which they retain well even when they are repeatedly used to make paper.

The Importance of Mixers in Paper Production

The technology of papermaking involves various stages of compacting, extracting, mixing, and pulping. It is worth noting that in almost all the steps, some form of mixing is typically involved. Therefore, mixers play a significant role in the papermaking process.

From the initial production stages, chemicals like sodium sulfide and sodium hydroxide have to be mixed in with the chips or the straw to help to break them down. This is not done at random, and the proportions of every ingredient must mix well with the others. What does this imply? That the equipment used must be customized based upon viscosity, chemistry, volume, dosing, and much more. In short, accessible expertise is necessary when it comes to a safe, efficient, and cost effectiveness in the paper production process. 

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