6.2 Panel Industry
6.1.1 Market requirement
6.1.2 Poor Equipment and Techniques; Dominance of small mills
6.1.3 Serious Pollution
The supply of high quality paper is less than the demand so that China has to depend on imports; the low quality paper products made from straw as raw material are in surplus.
The equipment in most of China paper-making mills is in the level of 1950s. Some big and middle scale mills reach the level of 1960s-1970s. In 1990s, some modern technologies were introduced from developed countries. China has 11,025 paper and pulp mills. Among them there are 130 mills with the production of 30,000 tons or more and 9,838 mills which produce less than 10,000 tons. There are about 9,141 mills which produce less than 5,000 tons.
The amount of wastewater emission from paper industries is about 15 % of total waste water in the country. These small-scale mills are devoid of treatment equipment to recover toxic chemicals. In order to protect the environment, China government decided to close to small scale mills with annual capacity lower than 5,000 tons. Bu 1996 about 4,000 small-scale mills had been closed. Although the total output of paper and paperboard decreased; there has been little affect on the market because the products of these closed mills are low-quality paper and paperboard. Now many closed mills are combining so as to enlarge their production capacity and improve equipment for wastewater treatment.
By 2000, China plans to build 17 new wood pulp mills with combined annual output of 3,220 thousand tons and to reconstruct old mills. In order to control pollution, some priorities were adopted:
· Dissemination the importance of environment protection and balance economic, social and environmental benefits.
· Research on the techniques of waste water treatment in straw process.
· Improve the raw materials10.
· Upgrade the scale of enterprise.
· Support the large scale enterprises which have more benefits and limit small scale paper enterprises.
· Provide loans to enterprises for the purpose of pollution control. Some money is collected for the establishment of environment protection foundation. Some preferential policies such as reducing or exempting from tax are applied to some products to encourage comprehensive wastewater reclamation.
· Promulgate the regulations and laws of environment protection.10 Improving raw materials means (according to the authors) increasing the proportion of wood, waste paper, reeds, bamboo and bagasse but decrease that of rice straw.
The main problems are as follows:
· The production scale is small, quality of products is unstable and benefits are not very good. The annual production of most established panel mills is from 2,000 to 5,000 m3 Owing to the shortage of funds, advanced techniques and equipment cannot be adopted so that the production cost is high.
· There is no equipment for wastewater processing in the non-wood fibreboard mills and the product quality is also low.
· The production equipment for manufacturing the non-wood based panels is not specifically designed for these raw materials. Most equipment is similar to that for producing wood based panels, so part of equipment is not suitable for the non-wood fibre materials. The equipment needs to be further improved and special equipment needs to be developed.
· Lack of lower cost adhesive to make wheat-straw board.
· Poor transportation condition and scattered distribution.
· Some techniques are still missing or poor: for example, the removing of medulla and cover in plant fibre, the storage of raw material, and the technologies of board-making and compression.
In China, the development and utilization of non wood fibre material resources have some advanced condition and some problems to be solved, but also have a bright prospect.