Research & Innovation
Columbia Pulp breaks ground on Lyons Ferry straw pulp mill
By P&PC Staff
Oct. 3, 2017 - Columbia Pulp has begun the construction of the 140,000-tonne/year Lyons Ferry wheat straw pulp mill at 1400 Highway 261 in Starbuck, Wash. Described as the first modern mill of its kind in North America, the facility will produce commodity and specialty straw pulp for direct sale to paper and packaging manufacturers as an alternative to wood-based pulp material.
By P&PC Staff
More than 160 invited guests attended the groundbreaking celebration which consisted of a visit to the construction site via motor coach, and a series of remarks from community development leaders, company founders and professionals who assisted with the financing of the project.
The facility will use a proprietary process to convert straw into three product streams. According to Columbia Pulp, the pulping process has been proven and uses less chemicals, energy, and water than conventional pulping. As well, the process is conducted at atmospheric conditions and is gentler on the raw material resulting in a significant competitive advantage in terms of cost, product quality and environmental impact, says the company, adding that the process produces pulp and creates byproducts in the form of sugars and lignin.
According to mill representatives, the pulp will have quality specifications equal to or better than virgin hardwood pulp or recycled pulp.
“Making a competitive commodity product that is better for the environment and good for farmers is simply good business,” said John Begley, CEO of Columbia Pulp. “Columbia Pulp is proud to be on the vanguard of green innovation in the North American paper sector that I’ve worked in for over 40 years.”
Environmental not-for-profit Canopy says it has been advocating to make commercial agricultural residue paper a reality for the past 15 years, and calls the occasion a “significant milestone towards realizing that vision.”
“Making paper out of agricultural residues such as straw waste is a smart way to alleviate pressure on forest ecosystems and provide sustainable business solutions,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy founder and executive director. “We congratulate Columbia on this incredible first, and are excited to see the investment community mobilizing around this new green resource sector that services the growing paper and packaging market.”