Process

Phoenix Processed Pulp vs. Traditional Kraft Wood Pulp


Most paper is a mixture of different types of pulp, each giving different characteristics. Wheat Straw pulp from the Phoenix Process has physical characteristics that are comparable to hardwood and superior to recycled fiber. Other characteristics include:

  • Slightly longer fiber than the majority of hardwood pulps
  • Superior strength characteristics vs hardwood
  • Superior strength properties to nonwood pulp from other processes
  • Lower coarseness compared to nonwood pulp from other processes
  • Certified non-wood product
  • End use target markets are molded fiber products, consumer products (towel & tissue), packaging and printing and writing grades

Pulping Process Differences

Due to the milder technology used, the process is done at lower temperature without high pressure tanks. This results in using significantly less energy used and lower cost of ton to produce. 20 million KWh less electrical usage which is the equivalent energy to power 3,000 homes. Other facts:

  • Process uses between 1/8th and 1/10th the water of a traditional wood pulping process
  • Because of the process the capital cost is significantly lower. A similar sized wood pulp mill would cost over $250 million (Columbia is just under $90 million in CAPEX costs)
  • Washington Department of Ecology has permitted the process as a minor source impact on air. A traditional wood pulp mill utilizes sulfur compounds resulting in NOX & SOX emissions and resulting permitting, controls and regulations. The Phoenix Process is sulfur free thus no traditional pulp mill odors
  • A mill utilizing the Phoenix Process will have minimal discharge with the process water being recycled or going out as an additional product. Additionally there is minimal solid waste
  • Because the basic raw material is a waste product and due to the low impact of the process (energy use, chemical usage and fiber yield), operating costs are a fraction of the competing wood fiber mills (between 50 and 60% of their costs)

Impact of Fiber Availability


  • There is significantly more agricultural biomass available than wood biomass (3X’s more in North America)
  • A Columbia Pulp sized mill producing 400 tpd using wheat straw replaces over 300,000 tons per year of wood chips or between 40 & 50,000 trees per year (depending on tree size and specie)
  • The process used by the Phoenix Process is a milder technology resulting in a higher yield of fiber. It takes 1.54 tons of straw to produce a ton of pulp compared to almost 2 tons of wood fiber to produce a ton of pulp
  • Utilization of wheat straw results in 100,000 fewer farm acres burned (plus reduction in forest slash piles burned)
  • Economic impact on an agricultural community will result in 110 direct jobs and another 250-300 indirect jobs

Learn more about alternative pulp fibers derived from the Phoenix Process:

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North American Biomass Potential