EcoPlanet Bamboo has carried out significant investment into R&D, trials, and technology development to identify a pulping process for bamboo fiber that is environmentally clean. Why? Because although bamboo pulp and the paper products it is subsequently converted into exist on the market today, these products have traditionally been produced under chemically intense manufacturing systems that suffer from significant waste streams and often lose the unique benefits of the bamboo fiber. And, with nearly all of these facilities being in China, the environmental regulations around the management of that waste, both black liquor and lime sludge that results from the removal of silica, is often lower than what would be expected or hoped for by Western Markets.
As a result, starting in 2013 EcoPlanet Bamboo's CEO, Troy Wiseman, made it the company's objective to find, or if necessary invest in the development of a technology and manufacturing system that allowed for the end product - whether paper or yarn for textiles, to be as clean and sustainable as the manner in which the company's bamboo plantations are grown and managed.
Our priorities were as follows:
A closed loop technology;
Zero waste facility with no black liquor, lime sludge, chemical or other waste streams;
A low water and energy footprint;
A bamboo pulp and associated products that meet or exceed wood products.
Such studies spanned a wide range of available pulping technologies, including both traditional technologies and those working towards applicability for non-wood fibers. Our research trials covered everything from mechanical, to enzymatic, to alternative chemicals including ammonia and the application of oxygen delignification to our bamboo fibers.
Certain pioneering technologies showed great potential for the production of a high quality bamboo pulp
During this research, we came across a whole host of entities engaged in this emerging and growing market for alternative / non-wood pulp. In particular, the below entities were well on their way to development of a bio-refinery technology for non-wood fibers.
(1) Chempolis Bio-Refinery
(2) Andritz TMP-CTMP
(3) Clextral Twin Screw Extrusion
However, despite significant innovation, and even the production of high quality bamboo pulp, EcoPlanet Bamboo's team kept coming across the same challenges:
As a result we pioneered on, until sourcing a potential technology partnership for the pulping of the bamboo from our bamboo plantations in Nicaragua and South Africa, and future yields from Ghana and elsewhere. EcoPlanet Bamboo and EPB Laboratories are now in the final stages of putting in place technology partnerships that will ultimately lead to the world's first entirely green supply chain for a bamboo pulp - part of our dream of creating high impact bamboo based bio-economies across our targeted geographies in Central America and sub-Saharan Africa.
Some technologies were less successful and took us back to the drawing board
Contact us for more information on our bamboo pulping trials and associated developments, or stay tuned for future developments as we continue to work to commercialize our Nicaraguan bamboo plantations for bamboo toilet paper and associated products.