91. ECOR® The intelligent use of cellulose fiber
The problem is that petroleum and wood resources are becoming scarce, more expensive, and the negative environmental effects of their acquisition and use are known to be extreme. Particleboard, plywood and medium density fiberboard are used to create panel products used in the building, furniture and package markets. These products use virgin lumber, wood byproduct raw materials, and their adhesives and binders are mostly petroleum-based.
The alternative is ECOR®, a material made of cellulose fibers from an almost infinite variety of sources including cardboard, paper, newsprint and agricultural fibers from anaerobic digesters, kenaf, hemp, wheat straw, sugarcane bagasse and many others. ECOR® transforms this waste into a 100% bio-based material that can be used in building, furniture, packaging and many other markets, replacing the need to use virgin lumber and petroleum. ECOR® is manufactured in a CLEAN facility using recycled water and no gas.
ECOR® technologies and products represent a truly disruptive, quantum advancement in the most fundamental elements of one of the largest yet most stagnant industries worldwide – the structural panel industry. This industry’s size has been due to the need for engineered panel materials in hundreds of markets and hundreds of thousands of applications, however, the industry is not evolving, primarily due to its lack of design innovation and its archaic production, marketing and distribution models.
Developed by NET, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Products Lab, ECOR® is a new specialty technology and product that is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood, particleboard and fiberboard panels and other products including aluminum, plastic and composites. ECOR® is an alternative to traditional toxic, resource-hungry materials and it offers consumers more sustainable products which range from industrial to retail markets.
NET began with a “blank sheet of paper” to design from the ground up a new paradigm in panel manufacturing. ECOR® products are “eco-astounding”: 100% recycled (underutilized waste) content; 100% non-toxic; 100% bio-based (USDA certified); reusable and recyclable. The raw materials are safe to handle and process, the manufacturing process has virtually no waste, and the water used is 100% recycled within the factory through a closed-loop system. There is no effluent from the process, and any excess from trimming the panels is re-pulped for new ECOR® panels.
Why it should be recognized:
The ECOR® solution should be recognized because our world must become more socially minded. We must begin to reuse our waste and conserve our resources. ECOR® is a viable sustainable alternative that is lightweight, strong and effective.
In addition, ECOR® is cost-effective. Raw materials costing on average less then $200 per ton (often zero, or a profit center in some cases) is converted to highly engineered structural and finish materials valued as high as $30,000 per ton. Among the many implications of this high conversion ratio is the compelling opportunity for high value products to be created virtually anywhere on earth for an endless number of markets. In this way, waste becomes a highly valuable resource and an asset to the local businesses, public agencies and communities. Additionally, due to the design of the production system, including all closed –loop systems, there is minimal to zero waste from production.
We believe that this resource flexible characteristic of ECOR® will prove to have extraordinarily powerful, positive environmental, sociological and economic impacts worldwide.