2022 has been an exciting year for NER so far. In February 2022 Hive Energy invested in Nafici Environmental Research. The company co-founded in 2013 by husband-and-wife team Shahriar and Florence Nafici, have developed a biochemical mechanical pulping process for converting agricultural residues, such as wheat straw, into paper pulp. The benefits of the process are both environmental and economical. Environmentally the process uses less energy and water than traditional wood pulping chemical or mechanical processes. Also utilising agricultural residues ensures they are not left to rot in the field or burnt which can cause significant ecological issues. From an economic standpoint the process offers farmers the opportunity to valorise a higher percentage of its crop.
NER is now scaling up for success. Here’s how!
Expanding the Management Team
In March 2022 NER brought Steve Gibbons and Lee Gray into the management team.
Steve Gibbons, Sales & Marketing, has 25 years’ experience in the packaging industry. Steve’s career spans across the value chain working in both B2B and B2C businesses. As Commercial/Business Development Director Steve has led the introduction of new packaging and products into the European market for Food and Beverages.
Lee Gray, Operations, has 32 years’ global onshore and offshore experience in the Energy, Oil and Gas, Construction and Petrochemical industries. Lee has substantial Project and Construction Management experience and has worked extensively on EPC and EPCm Projects from Pre-FEED to FEED, Constructability, Construction and Delivery, including Shutdowns and major Turnarounds.
Pulp Development through UK Horsham R&D plant
NER has further invested in a UK R&D plant that allows customers to test various feedstock. This is an important part of the development process giving customers the opportunity to understand the properties of the pulp. The plant can produce up to 50kg per day. So far NER has proven reed, wheat straw, miscanthus and maize stover as suitable candidates as substitutes for some hardwood pulps and as an alternative to paper additives such as starch.
China leading the way!
By Quarter 4 2022 the first commercial EcoPulping plant will be commissioned in China. Initially 50 tonnes per day with plans to scale up to 200 tonnes per day. This exciting development is part of a joint venture with a Chinese Investment group and in partnership with large Chinese packaging companies.
So what’s next for NER? Co-Founder Florence Miremadi-Nafici says “both pilot and commercial scale tests have shown that using our pulp can significantly increase the strength of the paper or package produced. We have a product with strong physical properties that also uses lower energy and water than traditional wood pulp processes. We believe that this is what the market is looking for. The next step is to have our pulp available to the European market so watch this space”.