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Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010

Summary

Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) pulp, bleached with chlorine dioxide, continues to dominate the world bleached chemical pulp market. In 2010, ECF production rebounded from the modest downturn in 2008 and 2009 and reached 88 million tonnes, totaling more than 90% of world market share. 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). ECF's compatibility with sustainable eco-systems was recently recognized by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in it's judgement regarding the conflict over Botnia's Frey Bentos mill in Uruguay1. The ICJ noted that the mill employed an ECF bleaching process and as such was BAT compliant, moreover, the Court concluded that the mill preserved the aquatic environment of the Uruguay River, including the protection of its fauna and flora.

The world's papermakers desire for ECF's superior product quality remains unabated. With such strong attributes, new bleached chemical production will come to the market using ECF-based bleaching technology.

World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010

WORLD BLEACHED CHEMICAL PULP PRODUCTION PROFILE

In 2010, ECF commanded the highest worldwide market share at greater than 90%, totaling more than 88 million tonnes. ECF market share continues to grow in all pulp producing regions. This trend will continue as all new production planned in all producing regions will incorporate ECF bleaching.

World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010

Scandinavia

In Scandinavia, ECF accounts for ~ 80% of bleached chemical pulp production. Conversely, TCF market share peaked in 1998, and has modestly declined over the last 12 years as a number of companies producing TCF on a campaign-basis have exited the market2. In addition, the only mill designed to produce exclusively TCF pulp, converted to ECF production. The company noted that3:

  • ECF pulp is more suitable to their customers processes;
  • ECF bleaching allowed the mill to increase production capacity by 45,000 tonnes per year;
  • ECF bleaching allowed higher pulp brightness without sacrificing pulp strength characteristics;
  • The four-stage ECF bleaching sequence is simpler;
  • Pulp strength properties are improved;
  • ECF bleaching allows the mill to terminate cooking at a higher kappa number, thereby increasing pulp yield; and
  • Impact to the aquatic environment is unchanged.
Scandinavian Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010

North America

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 mills4.

Total production in North America has recently declined by approximately 4 million tonnes over the period 2005-2010. However, a number of shuttered bleached kraft mills restarted in 2011 and at least 3 mills will restart as dissolving kraft mills.

North America Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010

South America

In South America, ECF production continues to grow rapidly. More than 8 million tonnes of new ECF production was added in the region since 2005. In 2010 ECF represented over 97% of bleached chemical pulp production.

South American ECF Production: 1992-2010

LOOKING AHEAD

Recent studies comparing ECF and TCF have reiterated ECF's overwhelming product and yield advantages and ECF's environmental compatibility with aquatic ecosystems5.

Over the next five years, bleached chemical pulp production is set to increase dramatically with significant expansions and new investments announced in China, Russia, Uruguay, Brazil, and Indonesia. More than 10 million tonnes of new production is planned or is on the drawing board. All of this new production is expected to be ECF.

ECF's market share will continue to grow due to it's acknowledged environmental compatibility, cost-competitiveness, and high quality desired by producers and users alike.

Projected Growth of ECF

2010 AET International Survey

APPENDIX (ALL DATA IN MILLIONS OF TONNES*)

World

 
ECF
TCF
Other
1990
4.4
0.2
64.0
1991
9.6
0.5
59.4
1992
17.2
1.4
53.1
1993
22.4
3.0
48.1
1994
29.2
4.7
43.1
1995
34.6
5.5
39.2
1996
38.0
5.3
36.3
1997
42.3
5.9
33.2
1998
45.9
5.8
29.6
1999
50.3
5.8
24.6
2000
53.9
6.0
21.2
2001
65.3
5.2
15.4
2002
66.8
5.5
15.3
2003
69.4
6.1
13.2
2004
72.0
6.1
11.5
2005
75.6
5.9
10.0
2006
79.7
5.5
8.3
2007
88.2
4.8
5.7
2008
87.5
4.8
4.7
2009
80.8
4.8
5.2
2010
87.9
4.8
4.7

Scandinavia

ECF
TCF
Other
1990
3.16
0.18
6.47
1991
5.37
0.39
4.69
1992
8.94
0.77
2.00
1993
10.12
1.66
1.12
1994
11.94
2.84
0.00
1995
11.73
3.55
0.00
1996
11.63
3.35
0.00
1997
11.59
3.92
0.00
1998
11.03
4.02
0.00
1999
10.68
3.83
0.00
2000
9.99
3.83
0.00
2001
10.64
3.36
0.00
2002
11.13
3.24
0.00
2003
11.60
3.21
0.00
2004
11.60
3.21
0.00
2005
11.56
3.21
0.00
2006
11.56
3.21
0.00
2007
11.89
2.80
0.00
2008
11.48
2.80
0.00
2009
9.38
2.80
0.00
2010
10.02
2.80
0.00

North America

ECF
TCF
Other
1990
1.15
0.00
37.1
1991
2.95
0.01
35.3
1992
5.42
0.05
32.8
1993
7.90
0.23
30.0
1994
11.50
0.27
26.5
1995
16.44
0.29
22.0
1996
18.47
0.24
20.6
1997
21.97
0.24
17.2
1998
24.62
0.25
14.2
1999
28.59
0.25
10.2
2000
31.38
0.25
7.4
2001
36.33
0.13
1.6
2002
36.38
0.13
1.8
2003
36.60
0.09
0.9
2004
36.22
0.09
0.7
2005
35.60
0.09
0.4
2006
34.70
0.09
0.4
2007
34.70
0.09
0.4
2008
34.04
0.09
0.4
2009
30.16
0.09
0.4
2010
31.39
0.09
0.4

South America

ECF
TCF
Other
1990
0.00
0.00
4.84
1991
0.25
0.00
4.59
1992
0.80
0.03
4.37
1993
1.20
0.05
4.26
1994
1.61
0.11
3.76
1995
1.95
0.09
4.12
1996
2.30
0.06
3.82
1997
2.52
0.05
4.15
1998
2.73
0.02
4.15
1999
2.97
0.05
4.07
2000
3.88
0.04
3.83
2001
3.86
0.09
3.36
2002
4.62
0.10
3.07
2003
5.89
0.10
2.51
2004
7.16
0.10
1.95
2005
8.57
0.07
1.02
2006
10.49
0.07
1.02
2007
13.15
0.07
1.04
2008
14.19
0.07
0.49
2009
14.68
0.07
0.49
2010
17.32
0.07
0.49

REST OF WORLD
(Includes Eastern and Western Europe, China, South East Asia, Indonesia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Japan)

 
ECF
TCF
Other
1990
0.1
0.0
15.6
1991
1.1
0.1
14.9
1992
2.1
0.5
13.9
1993
3.2
1.0
12.7
1994
4.2
1.5
12.8
1995
4.5
1.5
13.0
1996
5.6
1.7
11.9
1997
6.2
1.6
11.8
1998
7.5
1.5
11.2
1999
8.1
1.6
10.3
2000
8.7
1.9
10.0
2001
14.5
1.6
10.5
2002
14.7
2.1
10.4
2003
15.4
2.7
9.9
2004
17.0
2.7
8.9
2005
19.9
2.5
8.5
2006
23.0
2.1
6.9
2007
28.4
1.8
4.3
2008
27.4
1.8
3.8
2009
26.2
1.8
4.3
2010
29.2
1.8
3.8

*  All data has been rounded to the nearest tenth
** Pulp bleached with some molecular chlorine


Sources

The Alliance for Environmental Technology. Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2007. February 2009.

Notes

1International Court of Justice Judgement. Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay). The Hague, Netherlands. April 20, 2010.

2Rodden, G. TCF Has Settled into It's Niche in the Market: It's a Mature Technology. Pulp & Paper International. August 2003.

3Botnia ECHO. 1. 2007

4Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 72. April 15, 1998

5F-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.