According to the study “Asia Bamboo Pulp Industry Situation and Prospects Research report”, bamboo pulp is a viscous solution of bamboo fibers, water, and chemicals used to production of a variety of papers and fabrics. Bamboo pulp is very similar to softwood in terms of fiber length and strength, however, bamboo can also be pulped together with hardwood. Mix of softwood and hardwood will yield stronger pulp compared to hardwood pulped separately. Bamboo wood contains high levels of papermaking fibres because plant cell walls are composed of cellulose which is the main material used to make paper. The structure and shape of the cellulose bamboo wood fibre varies from species to species and even within an individual tree.
Bamboo is a fast-growing, evergreen plant belonging to the botanical family of grasses. It is used as a construction material, source of implements, weapons, and ornaments in several regions of Asia. Several interesting facts and physical properties of bamboo make it an extremely attractive and highly sustainable source in the manufacture of many high-grade products such as textiles and paper. Bamboo is majorly used for pulping. Bamboo chips undergo digestion, shredding, washing and wet depithing to obtain bamboo pulp. The fibres undergo chemically digested under controlled pressure drops to open the fibres using the energy contained in the wet superheated fibres. Bamboo is chipped and cooked or heated under pressure, in a vessel known as a digester in a solution of water and chemicals. This process breaks the fibers down into a viscous pulp after complete digestion. Later, the pulp is subjected to several clarification stages to remove water, chemicals and suspended impurities. The dry pulp is compacted into sheets or bales in readiness for distribution. Bamboo fibers possess strong anti-bacterial qualities which greatly enhance the properties of items manufactured from bamboo pulp.
The leading players in Asia bamboo pulp market are Ampack Corp, Hindustan Paper, Phoenix Pulp and Paper, Panjipol Paper Industry, Siam Cellulose, The Titaghur Paper Mills, Yibin Paper, Yaan Paper, Guangxi Liujiang Paper, Guangdong Guangning, Guizhou Chishui, Zhongzhu Group and others. Bamboo pulp is categorized into two variants such as bleached pulp and unbleached pulp. Bamboo pulp is used in the manufacture of printing paper, writing paper, tissue paper, textiles and many more.
Chemical pulping converts the wood pulp into brown colour which is used for manufacture of packaging as cardboard and some paper bags. Whiteness is an important characteristic needed for manufacture of papers used for printing or high quality packaging. The so called bamboo wood pulp is bleached to obtain white colour and also purifies the pulp fibres. Bleaching process weakens the bamboo wood fibre but the need for different paper products with different requirements needs balance between strength and whiteness. To meet the varying needs of a paper industry, bamboo pulp mills produce a variety of pulps such as fully bleached, semi-bleached and unbleached.
Bamboo fibers possess anti-bacterial qualities that prevent the formation and spread of bacteria and mildew in fabrics and paper. Bamboo fibers also contain high concentrations of cellulose resulting in strong and robust end products. Asian bamboo pulp market will witness many new challenges and opportunities due to advanced technologies. Urbanization, modernization, and industrialization will drive bamboo pulp market in Asia over the next few years.
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Ankur Gupta, Head Marketing & Communications