Paraná, June 15, 2021 – How many things can be done with forests? This is a question that Klabin constantly asks in its incessant pursuit of research and innovation strategies that result in solutions for an increasingly sustainable and renewable future. Brazil’s largest producer and exporter of packaging paper, Klabin has unveiled a new application for microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), derived from the wood in its forests, as a substitute for non-renewable irrigation additives such as petroleum derivatives. This is yet another joint initiative by the company’s forestry research and industrial areas.
MFC is a network of cellulose microfibrils at a micrometric scale, entirely produced from the cellulosic pulp from planted trees. Klabin produces MFC at its Parque de Plantas Piloto in Telêmaco Borba, Paraná, which simulates a production unit for conducting industrial studies and tests on lignin and MFC research, which should drive future business opportunities for the Company.
In practice, this innovation involving MFC in forest plantation helps retain water close to seedlings and slow down its release, which increases the humidification time of seedlings that will become our industrial forests. Moreover, MFC can replace 100% of the traditional irrigation additives that are widely used during adverse weather conditions and periods of drought and, hence, plays the same role as synthetic additives that change the viscosity of water.
“There exists tremendous potential for extracting byproducts from our main raw material: trees from planted forests. Using MFC for soil irrigation underscores the numerous possibilities for renewable sources that lie ahead and reinforces Klabin’s goal of prioritizing increasingly sustainable development,” says Francisco Razzolini, Director of Industrial Technology, Innovation, Sustainability and Projects at Klabin.
Klabin had already used MFC in another initiative in April last year when it partnered with the SENAI Institute for Innovation in Biosynthetics and Fibers and the cosmetics manufacturer &CO (formerly Apoteka) to conclude in record time the tests for producing hand sanitizer from microfibrillated cellulose. The product replaces carbomer, an important component used to produce cosmetics and hand sanitizer, whose prices increased due to the growing global demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, driving the opportunities for application of this sustainable material.