Biobased materials have been used for many years in the paper industry, which can be broadly segmented into the categories of pulping, papermaking and paper coating. Processes for these industries involve heavy use of water, wood pulp, chemicals and energy. While many paper chemicals are a commodity in nature, about 48% are specialty chemicals.
Opportunities for soy use include application as sizing agents, stickies removal, retention and drainage aids, surfactants and barrier coatings, in addition to maintenance and expansion of existing uses of soy-based products, such as binders and lubricants in coated paper/paperboard applications. Work continues on the discovery of:
- A cost-effective solution using soy derivatives as the primary raw material to replace binders that are being used in paper coatings to reduce in-process viscosity.
- Use of soybean meal lipoxygenase to break down stickies in pulping and papermaking. Both pure lipoxygenase and soy flour have been found to prevent deposition of stickies or surrogate artificial lipids to either artificial membranes or cellulosic fiber sheets.
- A water-resistant packaging paper incorporating a combination of lecithin from soy oil and a small amount of soy protein.
- Cost-effective, biodegradable, paper-based mulch. A 33% replacement of linseed oil with soy oil in a paper ag mulch coating has been demonstrated, which represents an 8% reduction in total material costs, elimination of waste removal labor and disposal costs, and reduced coating tackiness.
- Technology for soy-based sludge for paper mills which has been successfully completed and is currently under commercialization.
- Soy chemistry is being used as a strength aid in paper manufacturing and is under commercial evaluation.