Tuesday 31 July 2012

The Age of Bio-Engineering Plastics

Fredric Petit, Director Sustainability, DSM Engineering Plastics (Holland) observed that the world has become addicted to fossil fuel but in the grand scheme of things the fossil-fuel age can be no more than a brief interlude separating millennia of renewable usage for fuel and materials.  The return to bio-based economics is imminent and with it the building blocks for plastics will have to move from petrochemicals to biomass.  DSM already have a leading position in bio-ethanol, bio-diesel and biogas along with bio-succinic acid and bio-adipic acid for polymer and plastics production. 

They are now focussing on bio-ethanol from cellulose in a 50/50 JV with POET called Project Liberty.  DSM will provide the enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation technology in a $250million investment to produce 20million gallons of ethanol/year in a commercial scale demonstration plant in Emmetsburg Iowa.  The technology will ultimately be replicated throughout POET’s 27 corn-based ethanol plants.  The JV is expected to produce revenue in 2013 from the sale of cellulosic bio-ethanol, biogas and (later) licensing the technology.

For the USA, EPA estimates the need for 350-400 new biorefineries by 2022 to produce 16 billion gallons/year of bioethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard.  7.8 billion gallons of this should come from cellulose derived from corn-crop residues.

(from a paper given at the Biopolymer World Conference, Venice, April 2012)

Saturday 28 July 2012

Biopolymer World Conference: Venice-Mestre: April 22nd-24th 2012

This was the first biopolymer conference organised by San Diego-based Biopolymer World Magazine and it proved to be an informative addition to the EU calendar.  It attracted about 100 delegates and some excellent papers despite being shoe-horned into the space between a weekend and the annual St Marks day holiday.  The location may not have been the best either, Venice having holiday connotations for the international audience while mainland-Mestre, where the conference centre was located, is, in comparison with Venice, an unattractive industrial area.

This conference, like its older cousin the Bioplastics Conference, confuses traditional polymer chemists by using the “Bio” prefix in two different ways.  “Biopolymer” is used to refer both to conventional synthetic polymers made from bio-ethanol, and to biodegradable polymers made from fossil fuel.  Cellulose, “the most abundant biopolymer on the planet” only gets a mention as a constituent of biomass from which ethanol can be derived!

An ISO definition of “Biopolymer”  is emerging and this is most likely to use a carbon 14 assessment of the ratio of fossil to renewable carbon in the polymer with more than 25% renewable being required to allow the Biopolymer label.  “Biodegradability” is not required and may even be a disadvantage: biodegradable plastics being seen in some quarters as sources of contamination in the recycling of traditional polymers made from bio-ethanol.

Paper summaries will be posted here over the next few weeks.

Wednesday 25 July 2012

P&G and U.S. EPA Sign Sustainability Research Agreement

CINCINNATI, Jul 24, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- The Procter & Gamble Company and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Risk Management Research Laboratory (NRMRL) announced today the signing of a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to develop new tools to optimize sustainability improvements in manufacturing facilities, and their associated supply chains.
These improvements will directly address the endpoints of P&G's long-term environmental sustainability vision, announced in September of 2010. This vision includes: 1) Powering its plants with 100% renewable energy; 2) Using 100% renewable materials or recyclate for all its products and packaging; 3) Having zero consumer or manufacturing waste going to landfills; and 4) Designing products that delight consumers while maximizing the conservation of resources.
In order to meet this commitment, new methods and tools are needed

Monday 23 July 2012

Lenzing AG Intensifies Pulp Cooperation with Sappi

Lenzing AG, global market leader for man-made cellulose fibers, is intensifying its longstanding cooperation with the paper and pulp group Sappi. Both companies have concluded a multi-year pulp delivery contract at comparable terms and conditions with pricing linked to paper pulp as in the existing supply contract. The agreement is related to the construction of new dissolving pulp capacities by Sappi.
Sappi is the world’s largest manufacturer of dissolving pulp with an annual capacity of 800,000 tons at present growing to 1.3 million tons. Dissolving pulp is used in producing cellulose fibers, amongst other purposes. The raw material is wood mainly derived from certified eucalyptus plantations. Lenzing has already been sourcing high quality pulp for its non-integrated fiber production plants in Indonesia, China, Europe and the USA for several decades, including from the Sappi Group.
For more information please contact:
Angelika Guldt
Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +43 (0) 7672 701-2713
E-mail: a.guldt@lenzing.com

Saturday 21 July 2012

Kelheim Fibres at Dornbirn 2012

A Specialist Specialises
Commercial Director Matthew North will deliver a deep insight into the strategy of the Bavarian viscose fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres at this year’s Man-Made Fibers Congress in Dornbirn. In his speech with the title “A Specialist Specialises” he will reveals the secrets of success of Kelheim Fibres, who - as a medium-sized enterprise – has gained an excellent position in an increasingly competitive global market.

For those who want to know more about the newest products of the speciality fibre producer three more presentations will deliver more specific information.

Dr. Ingo Bernt from Kelheim Fibres’ R&D team will speak about the design of viscose fibres specially for wetlaid nonwovens. As current research shows, short fibres with a flat cross section prove particularly beneficial for the strength of a nonwoven web. The latest fibre invention from Kelheim, Leonardo, combines both properties perfectly and beyond that also scores with its extra smooth surface and transparency.

Dr. Philipp Wimmer, another member of Kelheim’s R&D team, will present viscose speciality fibres for enhanced fluid management. In his lecture he will speak both about speciality fibres with increased water absorbency and the completely new possibility to produce viscose fibres with reduced water absorbency or even water repellence.

Finally, Dr. Roland Scholz will present viscose fibres designed to improve dispersibility of wet wipes. The underlying research examined wet wipes for personal hygiene applications which frequently are flushed into toilets – and risk blocking the waste water system. In the course of the study important factors were discovered which facilitate the dispersibility of nonwovens based on 100% viscose fibres: In addition to water pressure in production and the properties of the nonwoven, the fibre geometry (titre, length and shape of cross-section) play a decisive role.

In addition to these lectures, Kelheim’s fibre experts are available for personal meetings at Kelheim Fibres’ information booth. 

Thursday 19 July 2012


7th European Bioplastics Conference – Programme preview

Berlin, 19 July 2012. While brand owners are already testing bioplastics, all levels of the bioplastics value chain are working dynamically on optimising processes and creating new solutions. Bioplastics are now ready for the mass market. Current innovations and trends will be discussed on 6th and 7th November 2012 at the 7th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin – the leading industry event in Europe.

The bioplastics industry is on the move – in the certification of biomass cultivation, new materials and products, and waste disposal and recycling solutions currently being developed. The most recent findings and positions will be presented at the annual conference of the European industry association, European Bioplastics. The event will take place on 6th and 7th November 2012 at the Maritim proArte Hotel in Berlin.

A highlight of this year’s programme is, amongst others, the inaugural speech from Alfredo Aguilar Romanillos, European Commission, Directorate Biotechnologies, Agriculture and Food.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

Andritz Kusters Wet-Finishing for Diaper Spunbond

Tobias Schafer, Head of Sales for Andritz Kusters (Germany) commenced with market data for the Arab Maghreb Union (Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Morocco and Mauretania), a region of MENA with 1.54 million babies born per year, mainly in Morocco and Algeria.  The birth rate is however declining.  

The diaper market is 55% penetrated with a potential of between 7 billion (according to John Starr) or 8.55 billion (according to EDANA) diapers/year.

Diaper performance is related to multiple insult strike-through times, wet-back and runoff from the coverstock.  These in turn are controlled by oil pick up in the hydrophobic finishing of the coverstock, a process which spreads 10 litres of finish over an area on nonwoven the size of a football pitch. Andritz have developed a new kiss roll applicator system with heated rollers for single or 2-sided coating.  Metered uptake and automatic concentration control guarantees precise wet pick up.  

Because of the air turbulence created by the fast moving spunbond in the kiss roll system a mesh structure is used over the rolls to reduce turbulence induced variations.  The new drum drier has two stages to allow hotter operation at the inlet side.  In-line oil uptake measurement with feedback to kiss roll speeds allows the  wet pick up to be controlled as line speed increases.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Sunday 15 July 2012

Stentering Nonwovens

Bernd Can, Sales Manager, Bruckner Textile Technologies (Germany) explained how their expertise in building heat setting machinery for textiles could be used to improve the performance of spunbond nonwovens, especially for geotextiles.  The key benefits of heat-setting spunbonds on a stenter rather than calendering were:
·    Ability to vary basis weight up or down by controlled shrinkage or       stretching in either or both of the MD and CD directions.
·         Increased strength.
·         Better MD/CD balance.
·         Improved resilience.
·         Better control of bico melting.
·         Contactless heating system: no melting on hot surfaces, no cleaning.
·         Fabric widths infinitely adjustable up to the machine width (i.e. up to 7m)

Temperature variations in the hot air ovens were minimised by Vent-Jet gas/air mixing technology and alternating up/down draught zones along the length of the oven.  This “Counter Air Flow” reduced temperature variations down to +/- 1% compared with +/-5% in a conventional stenter.
Bruckner was also able to provide belt systems for bonding high loft webs up to 30mm thick.  These belt systems could fuse ADL fabrics at 200m/min and dry spunlace fabrics at up to 500m/min.  They could also apply treatments to and dry SMS fabrics, but all these belt systems required more floor space than the current machinery.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Saturday 14 July 2012

Spunlaid Tencel progresses

Lenzing's New Business and Innovation Director Robert Smith gave a paper at the Nonwovens Network meeting in Bradford this week updating progress on their collaboration with Weyerhaeuser to produce Tencelweb(TM) nonwovens.  Since start up of the 50cm wide research line in 2009 the process has been revamped to increase the productivity, and will be able to produce nonwovens with a variety of fibre sizes in the spunbond to meltblown range.  Being made from a solution of cellulose,  fibre-reinforced film-like structures and paper can also be made by using unregenerated filaments or dope to bond those that have been  regenerated. 

The conference is reported by Sustainable Nonwovens and this paper is summarised at: Next step for extruded Tencel and also in Nonwovens Report International

Click here for Tencel History

Friday 13 July 2012

Birla spending $2bn on Viscose Fibres

Mumbai: Indian billionaire Kumar Mangalam Birla plans to spend $2 billion (Dh7.35 billion) in the next three years to add capacity and maintain his group’s position as the world’s largest producer of viscose staple fibre.
The Aditya Birla Group plans to raise its ability to produce the fibre used to make rayon, wipes and nappies by as much as 43 per cent to 1 million tonnes by 2015, Krishna Kishore Maheshwari, director of the pulp and fibre business, said in an interview.
Last week, Aditya Birla agreed to buy Terrace Bay Pulp, a paper pulp mill in Canada, to secure raw material supplies.
Birla, who runs businesses from cement to telecommunications, is betting his plan to acquire suppliers and add capacity will help the company control costs and enable it to profit from rising demand in Asia, home to the world’s two most populated nations. The investment in the fibre business will aid the group in boosting combined revenue by 63 per cent to $65 billion in three years.
Read the full article at Gulf News

Thursday 12 July 2012


Continued strengthening of nonwovens production

Thursday 12th July, 2012, BRUSSELS – Today EDANA, the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries, released  a public summary of  its  annual  statistics on Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2011. This shows a growth in production volume for 2011 of 5.7%, with several market segments recording their best output ever in both tonnage and square metres, including baby diapers, medical, personal care wipes, civil engineering, automotive and agriculture.
The total deliveries reached the level of 1,897,748 tonnes and 55,740 million square metres in 2011. In global terms, the production of Greater  Europe represented  approximately 25%.  The  2011 expansion, albeit at a slower pace than the increase of 10.9% observed in 2010, has continued the positive growth of the industry after the hiccup of the recovery year of the economic crisis. 

Additional positive signs were also recorded. Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, stated that  “Each production process obviously  has  its own specific trends depending on the evolution of the market segments. Spunmelt production recorded two successive growths of more than 9% in 2010 and 2011. Within the fibre-based products, while

Wednesday 11 July 2012

African Fibres for Nonwovens?

Prof. Mohamed Ben Hassen, ISET (Tunisia) dealt with the possible uses of natural fibres other than cotton or woodpulp.  Jute was the largest with 50% of the market, followed by coco- fibre (16%), flax (14%), kenaf (7%) sisal ( 6%), ramie (4%), abaca (2%) and hemp (1%).  The Middle East and North Africa region was particularly rich in palm and alfa fibre.  Palm was being used in carpets, baskets, bags, cords, mattresses and hats.  Alfa was a source of papermaking fibre after chemical extraction (NaOH and NaOCl) and pulping.  It could also be carded and needlepunched into nonwovens for composite reinforcement and waddings.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Monday 9 July 2012

A Vision of the Future from Unicharm Gulf Hygienic

Mahdy Katbe, Executive Director of Unicharm Gulf Hygienic (Saudi Arabia) presented a thought provoking paper ranging rapidly across social, political and economic factors and their effect on the World, it’s nations, organisations, families and individuals.  Hardcopy was unavailable at the time of writing, but the following points were notable:

  • Traditional education systems are becoming obsolete
  • Digital Natives (those born after 1985) are able to educate themselves via the world wide web. (Digital Immigrants are those born before 1985)
  • Apple, Google, Facebook, Amazon together turnover $800bn and are truly global.
  • Capitalism has failed to provide the right balance of economic and social values.
  • We are deeply in debt and borrowing from future generations.
  • Traditional corporations rate their economic value more highly than their social value.  These must carry equal weight in future.
  • Social Key Performance Indicators will in future need to be embedded in corporate values.
This was an excellent Keynote presentation and this summary would have been more informative had a copy of the presentation or its slides been made available to EDANA.

(From EDANA Middle East Symposium - Dubai - Feb 2012)

Sunday 8 July 2012

Diaper Opportunities in Africa and the Middle East

Michel Verstraeten, Business Development Manager (MEA) for Henkel (Italy) enthused about the prospects for diapers in the Middle East and Africa as a whole. About a third of the world’s babies are born in this region, and the 15 countries with the highest birth rate are all in Africa. MEA thus has the highest unrealised diaper potential, and the key to realising it is identifying where the disposable income will reach the critical level for diaper use.

Mapping diaper penetration against GDP/Capita corrected for PPP (purchasing power parity) shows that a GDP/C-PPP of US$5000 equates to 20% diaper penetration throughout the MEA region. For the Eastern Europe and Central Asia region $15,000 equates to 50% penetration, and for South America, $10,000 equates to 50% diaper penetration.

The threshold for commencement of baby diaper usage is a GDP/C-PPP of around $3500/year. As this figure moves up through $5000 to $10000 the diaper market grows at 20% CAGR, this extreme rate lasting for 5-7 years.  From $10000 to $15000 growth slows and penetration levels out at about 75-80%.

Currently in MEA, country GDP/C-PPP ranges from $2500 to $8000 and 500,000 babies per year are being born.  Short term, MENA, South Africa and Angola are the main opportunities to focus on.  Longer term, Nigeria (“Eldorado” - 20bn diapers/year potential!), Ghana (2.5bn/year) and Ethiopia (4bn/year) are showing strong GDP growth, but Ethiopia is Very Long Term.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Saturday 7 July 2012

Absorbent Sponge Sheets from Pure Cellulose

Our 2008 study of cellulose sponge production methods compared the technology with viscose fibre production and a non-confidential version was presented at the EDANA symposium in Baveno Italy in June 2010.  

While using the same basic xanthate dissolution technology as fibres, sponges are made on a small scale and as a result are expensive niche products restricted mainly to higher value semi-durable household cleaning applications.  Are they small scale because the market is inherently small or is the market size restricted by the high price?  The technology for producing sheet sponges by more economical processes on a much larger scale appears to exist already, and sheet sponges produced on such a scale would be bulky highly absorbent “nonwovens” with many potential uses in disposable hygienic products.

Because sponge sheets have to be reinforced with fibres to get adequate strength, the use of viscose technology may be unnecessary.  Pulp may dissolve well enough in caustic soda alone, especially at sub-zero temperatures to yield a dope with sufficient undissolved fibres to act as reinforcement.  Forming pores by air dispersion or creation of ice crystals may obviate the need for the traditional glaubers salt pore-former and the resulting dope preparation process could take place in a single large pulper.  The dope could be extruded through a wide die onto a conveyor for regeneration prior to washing.  The whole process would be more analogous to pulp manufacturing technology than the current sponge routes and could operate on a larger scale. 
Carried out at a pulp mill with infrastructure for recovering the caustic soda, costs of the resulting “spongy nonwoven” would be significantly less than the current sponge sheets and could be usable in the wider hygienic disposables market.

The slides used in Baveno follow:

Thursday 5 July 2012

Low Count Diaper Packs from Fameccanica

Alessandro D'Andrea

Allesandro D'Andrea, Marketing Manager, Fameccanica Data (Italy) saw increasing demand for low count packs of hygienic disposables in emerging economies where minimal outlay per pack would encourage users to try the new products.  Here small independent stores were currently breaking open larger packs and selling the products singly.  He also saw potential in developed economies where “daily packs” of diapers and femcare could improve hygiene and be easy to carry around.

Examples now visible in stores included:
  • 1-packs of P&G Pampers pants in Indonesia.
  • Unicharm had 2 or 3 packs of pant diapers in the Indonesian market (Mamy Poko Pants)  
  • Local producer Softex were making 1 and 3 packs of “Sweety” diapers also in Indonesia.
  • Germany had 2-packs of diapers in sizes 3,4,and 5.  (“Beauty Baby”)
  • “Lines e”, the Italian brand of Always Infinity was being sold in 2-pack for      trial.
  • SCA “Libero” swim-pants were available in 6-packs in Hungary.
  • KC were selling changing pads in 4’s in the USA.
  • P&G were selling femcare in 2-packs in China and Unicharm had 4,5 and 6 packs.

Production lines optimised for high-count packs have to operate uneconomically slowly to make low-count packs so low count packs are often produced by manually repacking diapers from high count packs.  Fameccanica have now developed a low-count module to fit in a high count line so that product can be diverted into the low-count system and packed automatically as required.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Nano-web Filters from India

Mahammad Safikur Rahman and Anil Kumar (above) of ATIRA (India) were developing high efficiency nonwoven filters using layers of nanofibre webs.  Ahmendabad’s Textile Industry Research Association had acquired a 1m wide Elmarco Nano-Spider pilot line as part of a strategy to become a center of excellence for nanofibres in India.  They were developing face-masks, cigarette filters, water filters and automotive air filters from multilayer structures of spunbonds, meltblowns and card webs with nanofibre webs sandwiched between layers as necessary.  

The nanofibre webs were being electrospun from PA6 and polyvinyl alcohol at between 20nm and 500nm diameter and laid directly onto spunbond PP prior to further lamination.  The permeability and thickness of the nanofibre layer was being controlled by varying the line speed between 0.5 and 2.5 m/min.  Automotive air filter paper had been coated with nanowebs at 1-9m/min giving air permeabilities varying from 236 l/m2/sec (untreated) down to 101 l/m2/sec at 1m/min coating speed.

Additional functionality could be met by adding carbon (active or nanotubes), silver or other chemicals to the electrospinning dope.  Barrier fabrics for medical use (SNS fabrics) had been developed with 2.5 times the water vapour permeability, yet 2.5 times the particle retention efficiency and 99.9% antibacterial and antiviral activity.

ATIRA, set up with government and private funding, welcomes collaboration with the world’s nonwovens industry.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Suominen to close Spunlace & Thermal Bond Lines in Finland

The operations of Suominen Nonwovens Ltd’s production facility in Nakkila will be sharpened by closing down production lines and rationalizing administrative and supportive functions. The number of staff will be reduced by a maximum of 76 employees.

The redundancies will be implemented during summer 2012.

By cutting the production Suominen aims at considerable improvement in the profitability of its production facility in Nakkila. The closure of the thermobond production and one spunlace line will lead to a write down of about 3 million euros, which has no cash effect. The procedure is part of Suominen Corporation’s broader performance improvement program. The target is to achieve cost savings of the order of about two percentage points on net sales in 2012.  

Suominen supplies industry and retailers with nonwovens, wet wipes and flexible packaging for use in consumer products that people use every day – through two business areas: Wiping and Flexibles. 

(From a Suominen Press Release)

EDANA's 2020 Vision

(Abby Bailey: photo by EDANA)

Abby Bailey, EDANA’s Marketing and Communications Director provided information from the “Nonwovens Vision 2020” study.  Key points were:
Globalisation will accelerate and economic power will move east.  Nonwoven markets will polarise with high volumes but low margins being realised from the emerging middle classes, while the developed world will need high margin, low volume products.

Sustainability will be the concern of the decade with a larger and wealthier global population growing more concerned about climate change and the release of GHGs. Nonwovens will benefit from sustainability opportunities in some sectors e.g. crop protection. Conspicuous consumerism is giving way to considered consumerism and prolonging the life of consumer products through exchange and on-line trading will increase.

Innovation is the key to addressing the other sustainability issues.  It will become more open and prolific and like the markets, will move east.  It will also have to deal with reduced raw material availability and the increasing...

Monday 2 July 2012

New Tencel Plant Construction Starts in Lenzing

Investments of EUR 130 mn in Upper Austria
Expected completion in about 24 months
110 new jobs
Following the successful completion of the environmental impact assessment process for the new TENCEL® production plant in Lenzing/Upper Austria nine months after the formal filing of the project, Lenzing AG was formally granted a legally binding building permit by the Office of the Provincial Government of Upper Austria. Construction work has now commenced on the new production facility which will manufacture 67,000 tons p.a. of the specialty fiber TENCEL® in Upper Austria in the future. Construction time has been calculated at 24 months.
Lenzing AG will invest approximately EUR 130 mn in the new factory, making it one of the largest individual industrial investments in Austria at the present time. This project will be accompanied by considerable infrastructure investments. Moreover, once it is put into operation the TENCEL® production plant will generate 110 additional highly qualified jobs in Lenzing in the long term, as well as a large number of other jobs in the region. The planning and construction of the facility also leads to a corresponding value creation.

Specialty fiber site in Lenzing

“With the TENCEL® plant the fiber technology of the future and the latest generation of man-made cellulose fibers is returning to our corporate headquarters in Lenzing. The Lenzing pilot plant was the place where 20 years ago the first marketable lyocell fibers in the history of the Lenzing Group were produced. They are now marketed around the world under the TENCEL® brand name”, says a pleased Friedrich Weninger, Member of the Management Board of the Lenzing Group and Chief Operating Officer responsible for the fiber business.

Sunday 1 July 2012

Medical, Geotextile and Filtration Nonwovens from SPIC

Kalicharan Sharma , Quality Manager, SPIC Nonwovens (Jordan) said hospital acquired infections were skyrocketing and were now killing more people every year than AIDS, breast cancer and car accidents combined.  HAI’s were costing $45 bn and 100,000 lives per year, and the problem was exacerbated by increasing levels of antibiotic resistance and more rapid spread of infections due to international travel.  Infection control needed improvement and nonwovens had a key role to play due to their well known barrier property and cost advantages over textile alternatives. 
Barrier properties could be further improved by using finer fibres, new coatings and fibre additives. Antimicrobials or expensive wound care chemicals could be added and be concentrated in the skin polymers of bico fibres cost effectively.  
The medical nonwoven disposables market was expected to exceed $19bn by 2015 driven by expansion of health care in emerging economies, new advanced materials and the ageing populations.  MENA is expected to show higher growth rates than the EU. 

Filtration nonwovens have evolved from replacements for paper and textiles to become the media of choice.  Future use of nanofibres and polymer surfaces tuned to absorb and retain specific molecular contaminants will lead to new products for drinking water production, effluent clean-up and air purification.  The global market for nonwoven filter media will show CAGR’s of 7%, increasing its value to $3.5bn by 2015.  Asia-Pacific will show the strongest growth with the US and the EU being below average.

Rapid developments of infrastructure in the emerging economies have led to a huge new demand for geotextile nonwovens in highway, railway, water storage, sea-defences and airport construction especially in MENA.  Demand from the BRICs is growing, led by a 35% pa geotextile growth rate in China, and even the EU market is showing signs of recovery.  60% of the world’s geotextiles are now used in China.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)