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Re: kenaf as a filler

Date: Wed, 16 Jan 2002 12:00:09 -0500
To:"Erin" <ecallagh@engr.uga.edu>
From:wjw5@psu.edu (Warren J. Weaver)
Subject:Re: kenaf as a filler


For about the last 15 years, Kenaf has been touted as a substitute for wood
fiber for paper making. To my knowledge, it has made very little inroads
into this market. It is my understanding that the issues are not technical,
but that in fact the fibers are a good substitute for one another. The real
problem has been in market acceptance.

This gets to the real heart of which fiber is better for the environment
and for which use land should be allocated for-growing wood fibers or
growing kenaf fibers. The politics of this question get pretty interesting.
Should the land that would naturally be forest land be best used for
forests? Should the forests be cleared in favor of planting kenaf? Which
land use is preferred? Which is better for the soil? The climate? For

Should a landowner be favored that leaves his land in forest? Or should the
farmer be favored-the individuals like many of our ancestors who cleared
the land, worked the land, harvested the crops, sent them to market and
made enough money given the vagries of the land, the weather and
"Providence" to support his family in a preferred lifestyle and to have
enough "seed money" to replant the next spring?

If one is favored, what are the reasons? Are they compelling? If so should
that one always be favored to the exclusion of the other?

It gets more interesting: If the forest is favored over the crop land,
should the forest owner be allowed to harvest the trees periodically to the
detriment of the forest and the animals that live there in? Should he or
she be allowed to clearcut, or must he or she only do selective harvesting?
What is the impact on the land of either approach?

If the crop land is favored, should that land be allocated solely for food
crops? For food and animal food crops (including grazing lands for
domesticated mammals)? For fuel (grain to alcohol for use as a gasoline
additive)? Or as raw materials for products for human consumption (soybeans
to make oil for use in printing inks and kenaf for use in paper or as
filler as your question relates)? Or some combination? What should
determine? What impact should free markets have on this decision?

So, you see, Erin, your question actually only raises more, though
technically, I'm sure there is a specific answer to your question. Perhaps
other listees will have that answer for you and may even be able to steer
you to the kenaf trade association (which is somewhere in the plains
states-Oklahoma perhaps) where you will be able to get specific information
on the application of kenaf fiber.


> Hi all,
> Have enjoyed all the emails on electric vs. gas!
> I am working for a client that would like to explore the
> possibilites of using kenaf as a filler. Has anyone doe
> any work or research on this? His question to me is below:
> "With new inovations in the composite industry there is a
> school of thought concerning the use of Kenaf as a filler.
> Would you please send me any information you have on
> Kenaf, it's uses, techniques for process or any other
> pertinent information you might have that would be useful.
> I would particularly be interested in process
> techniques,yeilds and issues concerning process of this
> material."
> Thanks, Erin Callaghan...


Warren J. Weaver
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