Trends in World Bleached Chemical Pulp Production: 1990-2012
Elemental Chlorine-Free (ECF) pulp, bleached with chlorine dioxide, continues to dominate the world bleached chemical pulp market. In 2012, ECF pulp production reached ~ 94 million tonnes, totaling more than 93% of world market share. TCF (Totally Chlorine-Free) production declined modestly, while sustaining a small niche market at less than 5% of world bleached chemical pulp production.
Moreover, since the market downturn in 2008 and 2009, ECF pulp production has rebounded both with restarts of previously idled production and new greenfield pulp mills.
ECF is acknowledged as a core component of Best Available Technology (BAT) and will be included in the latest revision of the European Commission’s Best Available Techniques for the Production of Pulp, Paper and Board1 .
ECF’s compatibility with sustainable eco-systems was recognized by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in it’s judgement regarding the conflict over UPM’s Frey Bentos mill in Uruguay2. 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. The future remains bright for ECP pulp production.
WORLD BLEACHED CHEMICAL PULP PRODUCTION PROFILE
In 2012, ECF commanded the highest worldwide market share at greater than 93%, totaling ~ 94 million tonnes. ECF market share continues to grow in all pulp producing regions. This trend will continue as all new planned production will incorporate ECF bleaching.
In Scandinavia, ECF accounts for ~ 80% of bleached chemical pulp production. Conversely, TCF market share peaked in 2000, and has modestly declined since then. A number of companies producing TCF on a campaign-basis have exited the market3. The IPPC suggests this is due to: “slightly higher production costs and no improvement in the product quality4.”
Moreover, according to the IPPC, the only mill designed to exclusively produce TCF pulp converted to ECF production for quality, energy and cost reasons5.
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 mills.6
Total production in North America declined by approximately 4 million tonnes over the period 2005-2010. However, since then, a number of idled bleached mills restarted, adding back approximately 1.6 million tonnes to North American ECF pulp production. Moreover, an additional 0.5 million tonnes are expected to restart in 2014.
In South America, ECF production continues to grow rapidly. An additional 2 million tonnes of new ECF production was added in the region since 2010. In 2012 ECF represented over 97% of bleached chemical pulp production.
Over the next five years, bleached chemical pulp production is set to increase dramatically with significant expansions and new investments totaling more than 13 million tonnes planned for China, Uruguay, and Brazil. 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.
2012 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: 1990-2010. October 2011.
2012 AET International Survey
B. McClay & Associates. Market Pulp Monthly.
Jorge Colodette, Universidade Federal de Viçosa. Tappi Bleach Plant Operations Workshop. October 2012.
1Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Sustainable Production and Consumption Unit, European IPPC Bureau. Draft Best Available Techniques (BAT) for the Production of Pulp, Paper, and Board. May 2012.
2International Court of Justice Judgement. Case Concerning Pulp Mills on the River Uruguay (Argentina v. Uruguay). The Hague, Netherlands. April 20, 2010.
3Rodden, G. TCF Has Settled into It’s Niche in the Market: It’s a Mature Technology. Pulp & Paper International. August 2003.
4Joint Research Centre, Institute for Prospective Technological Studies, Sustainable Production and Consumption Unit, European IPPC Bureau. Draft Best Available Techniques (BAT) for the Production of Pulp, Paper, and Board. May 2012.
6Federal Register, Vol. 63, No. 72. April 15, 1998