Instead of going straight to the comments, thought i’d post my response to Jay’s comment regarding my last post in a fresh new post.
Yes, pulp and paper – as in “pulp+paper” is a dying industry because the market is no longer growing partly due to our tech habits which not necessarily a bad thing…
Those who own the logging rights will still be there… the trees aren’t going anywhere (or let’s hope not – and let’s use this renewable wisely) – but the end product has to change. The capital investment is already there – a sunk cost for most.
Half of the log is energy – the other half is proving to work well with the nano industry making nanocrystalline cellulose which could be our “new plastic” and a biodegradable new building block material. All I mean, is that there are options with the end product. It’s in the vested interest of all of the players along the chain to keep these mills open – not just as “pulp+paper” mills.
This can be done with much of the same capital investments – their recovery boilers have been making bio energy for over 50 years… the technology is around 70% efficient (natural gas at 80%) – the technology is there.
And if some investments are written off in this case, just remember that the worse case is that they are ALL written off. Also, by changing their end product focus they would also keep much of the same producer/supplier network – giving some hope to these dying communities. Making this shift will take time, energy.. and money of course. Black liquor is a tricky substance, NCC isn’t ready yet etc. But remember…
Canada will always have trees and those green things will come in handy again once, ah, our tar sands wear out. But once these mills shut down, they’re gone – along with the network and skill that supports it.
We’ll be hitting ourselves if we lose this sector.