Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2010
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 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
2010 AET International Survey
APPENDIX (ALL DATA IN MILLIONS OF TONNES*)
REST OF WORLD
* All data has been rounded to the nearest tenth
The Alliance for Environmental Technology. Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2007. February 2009.
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
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.