Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2005
Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) pulp, bleached with chlorine dioxide, continues to dominate the world bleached chemical pulp market. In 2005, ECF production reached over 70 million tonnes, totaling nearly 85% of world market share. In contrast, TCF (Totally Chlorine-Free) production maintained a small niche market at less than 5% of world bleached chemical pulp production.
ECF is acknowledged as a core component of Best Available Technology (BAT). New studies continue to document ECF's compatibility with sustainable eco-systems, and papermakers' desire for ECF's superior product quality remains unabated. With such strong attributes, not only will new bleached chemical production come to the market using ECF-based bleaching technology, but also former exclusive TCF producers are converting their mills to produce ECF.
World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production Profile
In 2005, ECF commanded the highest worldwide market share at nearly 85%, totaling more than 70 million tonnes. ECF market share continues to grow in all pulp producing regions. This trend will continue as new production planned in Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Australia, and S.E. Asia incorporates ECF bleaching.
In Scandinavia, ECF accounts for over 78% of bleached chemical pulp production. Conversely, TCF market share peaked in 1998, and has modestly declined over the last 10 years as a number of companies producing TCF on a campaign-basis have exited the market1. In addition, one of the largest TCF producers in the region recently announced a significant investment in bleaching technology to allow ECF production, citing the following reasons: 1) higher brightness; 2) better run-ability on paper machines; 3) lower energy consumption; and 4) less wood consumption2.
Japan produces approximately 7.5 million tonnes of bleached chemical pulp and began converting production to ECF in 1996. ECF now represents over 55% of Japanese bleached chemical pulp production. Continued growth is consistent with the commitment made by the major bleached pulp producers in Japan to eliminate chlorine and convert to ECF.
In North America, ECF production now represents 99% of bleached chemical pulp production. The transition to ECF was essentially completed in 2001 as the balance of U.S. production came into compliance with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Cluster Rule. The Cluster Rule is based, in part, on ECF as Best Available Technology (BAT) for bleached paper grade kraft and soda mills3. Total production in North America has recently declined by approximately 2 million tonnes over the period 2002-2005.
In South America, ECF production continues to grow rapidly with new production coming into the market over the period 2002-2005 and significant production converted to ECF. In 2005 ECF represented over 90% of bleached chemical pulp. The total production will increase dramatically over the next few years as more than 3 million tonnes of new ECF production comes on stream in Chile, Brazil, and Uruguay.
Over the next five years, bleached chemical pulp production will increase dramatically with significant expansions and new investments announced in Australia, Russia, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, and Indonesia. More than 10 million tonnes of new production is expected over the next 5 years to meet the world's growing demand for printing and writing paper grades and for bleached board4 . All of this new production is expected to be ECF.
In addition, recent studies comparing ECF and TCF have reiterated ECF's overwhelming product and yield advantages, and ECF's environmental compatibility with aquatic ecosystems5.
Finally, with it's acknowledged environmental compatibility, cost-competitiveness, and high quality desired by producers and users alike, ECF's market share will continue to grow.
Rest of World
* All data has been rounded to the nearest tenth
** Pulp bleached with some molecular chlorine
The Alliance for Environmental Technology. Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2002. December 2003.
2005 AET International Survey
1Rodden, G. TCF Has Settled into It's Niche in the Market: It's a Mature Technology. Pulp & Paper International. August 2003.
2Botnia's Rauma Mill Invests in Bleaching. www.metsabotnia.com. March 9, 2006.
3Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 72. April 15, 1998
4Diesen, M., Trends in the Global Forest Industry. ABTCP Meeting, October 2005.
5ÅF-Process, AMEC and Beca AMEC. Review of ECF and TCF Bleaching Processes and Specific Issues Raised in the WWF Report on Arauco Valdivia. Prepared for Resource Planning and Development Commission. Tasmania, Australia. May 2006.