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Speaker interview with Kiril Dimitrov

Ahead of Specialty Papers Europe 2024, we spoke to Kiril Dimitrov, Packaging Expert at NestlĂ©...

You'll be speaking about cocoa husk as a fiber source for paper making at the conference. Can you share with us the inspiration behind using this material?

During cocoa processing, a considerable residue of biomass with high economic potential is generated. The purpose of this research was to evaluate whether cocoa husk residue after cocoa harvesting has the potential to be used as a renewable fibre source in papermaking applications for packaging.

What specific pulping and bleaching processes did you experiment with?

The study explored thermo-mechanical as well as chemical pulping processes, followed by bleaching.

What do you see as the economic and environmental advantages of using cocoa husk as a fiber source for packaging?

According to the ICCO Quarterly Bulletin of Cocoa Statistics published in November 2021, the world production of cocoa beans in 2017/2018 was just over 4.7 million tonnes, and estimates showed world production of almost 5.2 million tonnes for 2020/2021. Cocoa husk is the main by-product generated by removing the beans from the pod during harvesting. It is estimated that the cocoa husk is around 75% of the entire pod and for the production of 1 ton of dried cocoa beans, approximately 7 tons of freshly peeled husks are generated containing about 80% moisture. Valorisation of this biomass may result in interesting marketable products, and the resulting revenue could cover the costs of removing the beans from the pod during harvesting, following a circular economy concept.

What are you most looking forward to at Specialty Papers Europe 2024?

Specialty Papers Europe always brings very interesting topics and the latest in paper packaging from the leading innovative market in the field of paper packaging - Europe. It is also a great opportunity to meet peers in the field of specialty papers.