A researcher has found a new way to make paper more easily and cheaply from bagasse, the fibrous sugar cane waste from sugar production.
A Queensland University of Technology researcher has found a new way to make paper more easily and cheaply from bagasse, the fibrous sugar cane waste from sugar production, rather than from trees.
Queensland University of Technology Sugar Research and Innovation research fellow Tom Rainey has dispelled the myth that bagasse paper production would never be economically viable in Australia.
Rainey said bagasse could be used to make generic writing paper, tissues and packaging, and help lower the amount of plantation and old growth forest that was cut down for paper production.
‘My research has overcome a major technical hurdle to optimising bagasse fibre so it can be made into pulp for the production of paper, board, structural and packaging materials,’ added Rainey.
‘This process will be more profitable because the raw sugar cane material is up to five-times cheaper to buy than wood, and higher paper production rates are possible.’
Rainey said because the majority of generic-grade paper sold in Australia was manufactured overseas, this technology could provide a new market for sugar cane growers.
His research was supported by the Sugar Research and Development Corporation’s PhD scholarship programme and the Queensland government’s ‘Growing the Smart State’ PhD funding programme in association with QUT.
Queensland University of Technology Sugar Research and Innovation research fellow Tom Rainey