Hive Energy is excited to announce its partnership with Nafici Group Limited (“NGL”) to invest in Nafici Environmental Research Ltd (“NER”). NER is a circular economy business based in the South of England which will convert agricultural waste, including wheat straw, into EcoPulp; an alternative to wood-based pulps in the production of paper packaging materials.
Packaging is a major environmental concern, with many industries looking to move away from non-biodegradable, fossil-fuel plastics. One alternative is the use of paper, card, and moulded fibre packaging. However, these materials require the use of wood pulp, the production of which raises environmental implications.
NER’s patented process allows for EcoPulp, an alternative to wood pulp to be produced from agricultural waste that is often otherwise incinerated or left to rot, releasing CO2 into the atmosphere. EcoPulping is more environmentally friendly than traditional wood pulping: with up to a 95% reduction of water usage and a 50% reduction of energy consumed. Studies have found that including just 5-10% EcoPulp mixed with recycled material sees a 20 to 33% increase in strength. EcoPulp can also be used to make food-contact grade moulded fibre packaging.
NER plans to build its first full scale EcoPulping facility in England, with a feasibility study and site search commencing straight after Hive’s investment. Upon completion of the first UK site, NER will seek to expand further using Hive Energy’s international network and NGL’s experience of building EcoPulping plants in China, the first of which is currently under construction there.
Giles Redpath, CEO of Hive Energy, said: “Nafici Environmental Research is an innovative, low carbon business, which aligns with our mission to reduce carbon emissions. EcoPulp production has great potential to reduce the amount of moulded packaging made from plastic or wood-pulp, which is beneficial for the environment. The product has great functional qualities, and it is especially beneficial as it uses waste straw as a base product, which would otherwise be most likely incinerated or landfilled. This initiative further builds on our current circular economy partnerships, DBG Bioenergy in the Netherlands and Cuantec in Scotland, which also recycle industrial waste streams into exciting, valuable, and green products.”
Florence Nafici, CEO of Nafici Environmental Research, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Hive Energy who will be a great strategic partner for NER’s global development outside China and are fully aligned with our circular economy vision and values. With this partnership, NER will be even better positioned to meet the rapidly growing demand for non-wood fibres for use in moulded and paperboard packaging. It will also enable us to start the journey of significantly reducing the environmental impact of producing and transporting wood pulp around the world.”