The Appita Pan Pacific Fibre Value Chain Conference saw a full house with over 245 delegates from 17 different countries attending over the three days.
The combined Pan Pacific and Appita Fibre Value Chain Conference was held at the Distinction Hotel in Rotorua from 4-7 December 2018. Joined by its Pan Pacific partners, ATCP Chile, Indonesian, Pulp & Paper Association, Japan TAPPI, PAPTAC (Canada), Korea TAPPI, Taiwan TAPPI, TAPPIP (Philippines), and TAPPI (USA) the conference proved to be a great success.
In what has become a muchanticipated feature of the conference, the Bio-products Manufacturing Symposium once again provided a highlight. Overseas and local experts delivered new insights into aspects of the bio-economy, with topics divided almost equally between bioenergy and biomaterials, while content included both general overviews and studies of a more fundamental nature. In the latter category, subjects were both applied and theoretical in scope.
''Appita conference is the most well-organized conference among the paper conferences that I have attended, and once again you have provided many new insights and vision to all participants. Especially, the keynote speeches have been very enjoyable and informative.''
In his conference keynote address, Murray Sherwin, NZ Productivity Commission shared the findings of a 15-month study on how New Zealand might transition to a low emission economy, while at the same time continuing to grow incomes and wellbeing. The objective was to make non-binding recommendations to Government to achieve a 50% reduction in CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2050. After many process steps and extensive stakeholder consultations, the study concluded the need for the replacement of fossil fuels, significant afforestation in order to buy time, and changes to the structure and methods of agricultural production that today accounts for almost half of the current CO2 emissions in NZ. It also offered a 4-pillar solution; namely emission trading scheme, legislation and institutions, complementary regulations and policy, and investment and innovation.
Professor Patrice Mangin, University of Quebec described the eight-year journey of the BELT (Bioenergy La Tuque) project to use biomass for the production of biodiesel to displace 5-7% of Quebec's transport fuel requirement. In extensive pre-feasibility and risk mitigation studies, they identified the four key aspects for success as long-term biomass supply, relevant technologies, sound economics and full socio-political analysed over 700 technologies, of which 12 were selected and another 6 placed on a watch list. According to Professor Mangin, the success to date would not have been possible without strong alignment, close cooperation, A-team expertise, first nation support and social acceptability.
In an inspiring presentation, Bernard de Galembert, CEPI, Belgium showed how the forest-based industries has enhanced its environmental footprint since 2004 with impressive improvements in GHG emissions (16% reduction), water usage (7% reduction), sulphur dioxide emissions (40%reduction), recycling (approaching 60% globally) and safety (25% reduction in lost time injuries), and how the industry is continuing to play its role in transitioning society to the circular bio-economy.
Summaries of extensive studies, wide industry consultations and suggested ways forward have been published in four documents; Europe forest fibre industry roadmap, Rebuild the future, Age of Fibre, and Investing for industry transformation in Europe. Drivers for change were identified as policy and regulation, competition, market and consumer evolution, and cost reduction.
An innovation competition to improve process, upgrade existing products or explore new products identified eight new concepts (six on dryer energy reduction), with the winning project being the use of deep eutectic solvents in pulping. Mr. Galembert also shared with the audience many paper innovations currently being developed by the industry as part of an intensive R&D effort of 7 B € over 7 years (2014-20).
Australia has yet to realise the forest industries significant potential in the policy areas of energy and climate change. This was the main take home message in the paper presented by Gavin Matthew, AFPA. Investment decisions are difficult to make in an environment of rising energy costs and policy uncertainty, a situation not helped by existing Federal and State emission reduction targets that vary across the jurisdictions and are a nightmare to navigate. The peak forest body has recently released a document entitled 18by2030 (18 Million tonnes CO2 emission reduction by 2030) that combines separate building blocks previously presented to Government. It seeks supportive policy settings to drive new planting initiatives, unleash a bio-futures revolution and renew research capacity in Australia.
In a very thought-provoking talk Pongpatchara Pongpiriyakan, Poyry highlighted mankind's addiction to plastic and it's negative environmental impact. Currently, the world produces 8.3bn tonnes of virgin plastic of which only 9% is recovered. Some 6.3bn tonnes is discharged as waste and this isanticipated to grow to 12bn tonnes by 2050 if not addressed. Replacement of Polyethylene and Polypropylene in packaging and building construction offers the biggest payback. The largest plastic end-use is PE. Its theoretical replacement by a biomass equivalent would require 41 Mt/annum of paperproducts, but save 250 Mtonnes CO2e, equivalent to Germany's total annual emission. Even the replacement of 1% virgin plastic with a biodegradable alternative is claimed to have an attractive return.