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The 2023 agenda and speakers will be announced soon. In the meantime, take a look at the 2022 program. The agenda featured speakers from Starbucks, Nestle, American Forest & Paper Association,  Pixelle, Foodservice Packaging Institute, Sustainable Fiber Technologies, Solenis, LLC, Eastman, Domtar, FiberLean Technologies, Kuraray Co., Ltd., Novolex, and more!

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Specialty Papers 2022 Workshop (Speaker Presenting Virtually)
< Session Description >
The workshop has been designed to provide an overview of the specialty paper sector. It will examine a number of aspects that influence the sector and highlights the main market trends in terms of principal products and end uses. (Speaker Presenting Virtually)
Graham Moore | Strategic Consultant, Smithers
Part 1
  • Global factors and influences that will shape future development of the specialty paper business
  • Specialty paper – its position in the context of the overall paper industry
  • Overview of the specialty paper market

Graham Moore | Strategic Consultant, Smithers
Networking Break
Part 2
  • Key end use markets
  • Future products
  • Sustainability considerations and credentials
  • Factors driving success in the specialty paper sector

Graham Moore | Strategic Consultant, Smithers
End of Workhop
Welcome Reception
Sponsored by Domtar
We're kicking off the 2022 Specialty Papers US Conference with an off-site welcome reception! Let us welcome you to Milwaukee with local craft brews, light appetizers and an opportunity to network with your peers prior to the conference. Transportation from the Westin Milwaukee will be provided.
This welcome reception is included in your ticket!

Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Opening Remarks and TAPPI Update
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Session I: The Specialty Paper Sector – Present & Future
< Session Description >
This session will kick off the conference with a market landscape overview and conversations about the opportunities and growth within the industry. It will be a great lead in for key topics that will be addressed over the next two days.
Keynote Address Presentation
Panel: Opportunities and Growth as the Industry Moves Forward
Moderator: Lon Pschigoda – GM, WMU Paper Pilots Plants    

  • Michael Schatzschneider – CFO, Creapaper (Virtual)
  • Dean Benjamin – Director of New Product Development, Pixelle
  • Scott Hyland – Applications Development Manager, Ingredion  
The specialty paper sector continues to develop and innovate so that it can exploit new opportunities in line with technological and societal changes. This panel looks to explore the views and thoughts of participants for opportunities (and threats) for the sector in a post pandemic, more sustainably aware, climate changing world.
Networking Break sponsored by AGC
Session II: Important Updates in Regulations & Legislations
< Session Description >
In this session, we will dive into a regulation discussion that will help delegates within all values of the supply chain walk away with updates, facts, and details that are helpful when working within and outside of the US.
Panel: What You Need to Know: A Conversation on Regulations within the Sector
Moderator: Terry Webber – Vice President, Industry Affairs, American Forest & Paper

  • Kenneth Lin – Senior Regional Manager, Government Relations, International Paper
  • Chiara Pandhi – Leader, Global Trade & Government Affairs Americas, Mars
  • Carol Patterson – Vice President, Government Relations, Foodservice Packaging Institute
  • Anna Papagrigoraki, Sustainability Director, Confederation of European Paper Industries (virtual)
  • Jeffrey Keithline, Attorney, Keller and Heckman LLC
This panel will dive into regulations within the United States, the EU, and beyond. Panelists will talk through working within their sector and working across continents, the big issues on their minds today, and what the future is looking like for the specialty paper sector.
Session III: Innovations in Coatings & Alternative Fibers
< Session Description >
This session will discuss the importance of barrier coatings, updates, and new findings, as well as detail challenges and working through potential ways to overcome said challenges for the future.
New biodegradable aqueous barrier coating for paper and board packaging
PHA is a biobased alternative to fossil fuel-based barrier coating including polyethylene, it is renewably sourced from the seeds of plants and is fully biodegradable in soil and water.  PHA is a proven repulpable, recyclable and compostable alternative to fossil fuel-based materials without sacrificing the product quality that brands and consumers expect.
Using polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) for creating aqueous barrier coatings for fibre-based food packaging 
  • A novel technology for the production of fully biobased, biodegradable barrier coatings
  • Favourable EOL attributes of PHA coatings
  • Barrier properties of a PHA coating
  • Applying PHA based aqueous coatings for different food packaging end-uses

Tom Carne | Manager, Business Development, Barriers, Kemira
Are all Non-Wood Papers Specialty Papers
With the advent of non wood pulp mills emerging outside of China, and the demand from CPGs and other end users to be more sustainable, there is an emergence of non-wood containing papers and paperboard in the market.  The typical specialty papers have been under pressure from molded pulp products, film packaging and other materials.  The answer back can be more sustainable specialty papers from wheat straw, bagasse, hemp, and other non-wood fibers.  
Mark Lewis | President/CEO, Sustainable Fiber Technologies
Networking Lunch
Panel: It’s All About the Base - Challenges to Barrier Coatings
Moderator: Scott McNutt – Consultant, Nextep Partners LLC
  • Emily Parsons, Product Launch Engineer in Barriers & Molded Fiber, Solenis
  • David Magda – Director, Product Innovation, Pixelle
  • Lori Gobris – Global Marketing Manager, Printing & Packaging, Michelman
  • Scott Hyland – Applications Development Manager, Ingredion
  • More to come!
The evolution of packaging back to more sustainable Fiber based materials has many challenges. The landscape is full of buzz words, conflicting information, and misconceptions. In this presentation we will discuss the market drivers, the current wants and needs, the current solutions in the market and the product development ongoing to provide more elegant solutions to PFAS, PVDC and single use plastics replacement.
Networking Break sponsored by Dow
Fundamentals of Paper Adhesion and Processability in Extrusion Paper Coatings: Improving the Performance of Biobased and Compostable Poly(butylene succinate) in Paper Coatings
In recent years, the sustainability concern of polymeric coatings on single-use paper cups has been the primary driver for growing innovation in food-contact paper packaging. Today most paper is still coated with nonbiodegradable, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) due to cost and performance benefits. Alternative paper coating solutions with better sustainability, such as polybutylene succinate (PBS), have emerged as promising candidates to lead LDPE conversion under the pressure of European regulations. However, none of the biobased and compostable paper coating options today can meet or exceed the performance and processability of the LDPE benchmark. For example, PBS alone has poor paper adhesion and a limited extrusion coating speed, which limits full exploitation at industrial scale.

This paper presents a solution to these challenges by developing a unique technology to enable PBS to achieve its maximum potential. This technology significantly improves paper adhesion for thinner coatings while enabling a higher coating line speed without modifying existing LDPE extrusion lines. Fundamental techniques, such as DSC and rheometer, were employed in combination with industrial fitness-for-use evaluations to demonstrate the role of this new technology in improving extrusion coating processability and the final performance of the coated paper. This paper will also present strong structure–property correlations as part of a formulation development strategy for novel biobased and compostable solutions in food-contact paper-packaging coatings.
Bob Hu | Senior Application Research Scientist, Eastman
Session IV: Technologies & Testing to Push the Industry Forward
< Session Description >
This session will dive into new and exciting technologies that are looking to transform the industry; from improving barrier properties to using blockchain to transform your business.
Pilot trials with new MFC surface Applicator show potential for improving barrier properties.
A new technology to apply micro-fibrillated cellulose (MFC) and other additives to the wet end of the paper machine has been developed, using a specially designed Applicator system. This Wet End Applicator can easily be retrofitted to existing paper and board machines and can provide uniform coverage and good CD distribution to improve sheet surface smoothness and improve barrier properties.

Applicator trials were run on a high-speed pilot machine on both fine papers and brown packaging grades, applying MFC at consistencies from 1.0 to 2.0% to the sheet surface at machine speeds from 300 to 720 mpm. Surface addition rates of 2 – 8 gsm were achieved, with good coverage uniformity and significant increases in Gurley Air Permeance.
Marc F Foulger | Technology Manager, Microfibrillated Cellulose, Valmet
Panel: Is Blockchain Technology the Next Step in Sustainability? 2.0
Moderator: Marguerite Butler, Manager of Sustainability, Domtar

  • Teal Edelen – Program Officer, U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities
  • Henry Ines, CEO and founder, Chainparency
  • Puneet Dwivedi, Chief Executive Officer, Eco-Intelligence
We know that paper is a sustainable choice, produced by a renewable resource that can be responsibly managed and harvested. Concurrently, ESG is an amplified focus for industry and consumers, and transparent supply chains are a critical element. ForesTrust, a blockchain network developed by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry & Communities utilizing Chainparency’s blockchain technology, creates radical transparency and facilitates immutable trust within the entire forest products value chain. Domtar, in partnership with the Endowment, is the first Founding Partner to adopt this revolutionary innovation, not only because of its commitment to sustainability, but because it's good for business. The Endowment and Domtar will discuss their innovative partnership, describe the useability of the technology within the paper and pulp industry, and talk about why blockchain is the next and best step in creating a fully transparent supply chain.
Session V: SPUS Student Pitching Hour & Poster Session
< Session Description >
Students will have 5 minutes to pitch their research before taking questions from the audience. Following the Pitching Hour, the networking reception will begin where they will have a space to display their research to the delegates and further engage with the audience in real time.
Application of bio-based additives to enhance board properties – A laboratory paper machine study
Jonathan Day, Owen Henkler, and Rodrigo Castillo Medina, Students, State University of New York (SUNY)

Increasing production cost in the paper industry require more efficient resource allocation and utilization of recycled materials. This may include increasing the use of filler materials for cost saving reasons. Increasing environmental regulations require the utilization of bio-based additives in manufacturing processes.
This research study gives an insight view into the use wood flour, high refined pulp, and in-situ precipitated calcium carbonate in the presence of fiber and wood flour as bio-based additives including the addition of high and low brightness commercial GCC as paper filler material.
Within the project, 80 g/m² paper is produced from industrial processed OCC fiber material on a 12-inch laboratory paper machine.  Paper with OCC fiber pulp, Wood flour and high refined pulp is produced as base line paper material. Wood flour and high refined pulp with and without in-situ precipitated calcium carbonate is added including addition of high and low brightness GCC addition with the same particle size to achieve a filler level of 15%.
Fines retention is measured with a Britt Jar devise having a 75 μm (,200 mesh) screen. Mechanical (Tear, Tensile, STIFFI, Z-Strength, Burst, Ring Crush, Gurly Porosity) and optical properties (L*, A* b* Opacity, Brightness, whiteness) are measured according to TAPPI and ISO standards.
It is expected based on preliminary TAPPI handsheet testing that addition of bio-based additives enhances fines retention and improves mechanical and optical properties as well as allow the increase of filler levels in OCC fiber products.
Electrically Conductive Biochar Filled PA 12 Composites and the Effect of Filler Morphology on Composite Properties
Chinmoyee Das, Post Doctoral Research Associate (ASCC, University of Maine), Previous University: Michigan Technological University

Polymers based composites used in automotive manufacturing have contributed significantly to light weighting. Composites properties are greatly dependent on filler properties that determine the properties of the end product. In this study recycled PA 12 composites were filled with biocarbon fiber and biocarbon powder at different concentrations to study the impact of filler morphology on composite properties. It was observed that for both sets of composites the electrical properties improved compared to pure PA12 that has a resistivity of - 14 S/cm. The composites filled with biocarbon fiber filler had significantly high electrical conductivity values. At 7.5 wt.% the biocarbon fiber samples reported log electrical conductivity of – 3.85 S/cm while biocarbon powder samples reported log conductivity values of -7.455 S/cm. Similarly at 35 wt.% the biocarbon fiber filled composites reported log electrical conductivity of – 0.33 S/cm while the biocarbon powder filled composites log conductivity was -2.54 S/cm.  The pronounced difference in electrical conductivity can be attributed to the morphology of biocarbon incorporated in the composites. The thermal properties for both the composites showed improved thermal stability, more prominent in biocarbon powder filled composites compared to biocarbon fiber filled composites. An increase in thermal stability of the composites was observed on incorporation of filler and an increasing trend was observed with increasing filler concentration as well for both the composites. The mechanical properties showed improvement on incorporation of biocarbon as the storage modulus increased from 1500 MPa for pure PA 12 to ~ 3500 MPa on incorporation of biocarbon filler. The storage modulus values were also better for biocarbon fiber filled composites
Closing Remarks
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Networking Reception Sponsored by Archroma
Opening Remarks
Registration Open
Opening Remarks
Chelsea Kertes – Conference Producer, Smithers
Session VI: Paper Chemistries & Processing Advancements
< Session Description >
This session will discuss some new developments in chemistries and processes within the Specialty Papers Industry.
Microfibrillated Cellulose for Sustainable Barrier Paper and Board Applications
Here we describe how microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) can be produced at industrial scale based on aqueous mechanical grinding of wood pulp. This is process utilizes robust industrial milling equipment without the need for chemical or enzymatic additives. There are currently five industrial MFC production plants operational across Europe, North America, and Asia using this technology.
When MFC is added to paper and board furnishes, the strength of both the wet web and dry sheet is increased. Furthermore, the voids between fibres are bridged and drawn closer together. The densified structure has substantially reduced permeability and lower surface roughness, which significantly improves application and hold-out of functional and barrier coatings.
Surface application of MFC onto paper and board grades is under development but has exciting future potential in the specialties/barrier market. When MFC is formed into layers and dried onto the surface, the fibrils bind tightly, resulting in very smooth and low porosity films which exhibit barrier properties towards oil and grease, oxygen, aroma, and mineral oils. The layer also serves as an ideal substrate to combine with subsequent coatings to achieve additional barrier properties (e.g., To moisture and water).
In this presentation we further discuss these applications and provide some insight into the potential that MFC has to offer in the next generation of sustainable paper and packaging innovations.
Bullet Points
  • Introduction to Microfibrillated Cellulose (MFC); how it is made and its properties.
  • Overview of MFC applications in paper and board.
  • Discussion of MFC surface application and its applicability barrier paper and packaging.
  • Market opportunities for MFC in sustainable barrier papers and boards.

Tom Larson | Head of Business Development, Paper & Board, FiberLean Technologies Ltd
Recent Breakthrough in Chromatogeny for Sustainable Barriers and New Applications
Chromatogeny is a green chemistry technology, discovered by Cellulotech's Chief Scientist Daniel Samain, that offers low-cost and sustainable barriers for paper and packaging but also opens a new world of possibilities for paper products in other industries such as construction or healthcare.
Whether it is to make paper superhydrophobic, replace plastics coatings, PFAS, silicone or other harmful materials for our health or our environment, this molecular grafting technology has raised high expectations since its discovery 26 years ago. However, the lack of an efficient industrial process has always limited its adoption. 

Cellulotech has developed over the last 3 years a new scalable and low-cost process that solves this issue and has also made several breakthroughs in terms of substrate and product development. In this presentation, we will go through the history of this technology, its recent development and how our process can help solve current challenges regarding sustainable barriers and open new markets for paper products.  
Bullet Points
  • Introduction to Chromatogeny, its chemistry and historical development
  • Overview of barrier properties and applications
  • Cellulotech process' breakthrough
  • Next steps

Romain Metivet | Founder & CEO, Cellulotech
Networking Break Sponsored by Mativ
Session VII: Thinking Outside the Box: Packaging Design & Materials
< Session Description >
Now more than ever, companies are putting a special focus on their packaging materials and design. Here, we will explore this in detail with a variety of brands, and representatives from other values of the supply chain, to help everyone think outside the box the next time they think about packaging.
Panel: Brand Perspective: How is Packaging Design Changing?
Moderator: Brent Ostrowski, Global Director of the Packaging Design Center (PDC), Managed Packaging by BillerudKorsnas

  • Abhijit Bhattacharya – Senior Paper Packaging Specialist, Nestle
  • Rachel Lincoln – Sustainability Business Strategist, PrAna
  • Kyle Walker, Sr. Packaging Engineer, Starbucks Coffee Company
• Discuss the movement away from plastics
• Looking at alternatives for packaging materials
• The importance of becoming more sustainable, making reachable goals, and achieving those goals
• Consumer insights – i.e., how best to listen to your customers and keep them loyal to your brand
Use of Hydrophobically Modified Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVOH) to Improve Key Properties of Barrier Paper
The rate of waste generation around the world continues to increase tremendously piling up significant amount of plastic waste in landfills, rivers, and ultimately in the oceans.  It is widely agreed that the use of paper-based package materials is one of the solutions to the problem. The goal of this paper is to summarize on-going studies in producing new and improved paper-based barrier package materials with special and unique products. One of the products used in the paper-based package materials is polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) resin. The studies presented in the paper will clearly demonstrate that hydrophobically modified PVOH exhibits better film forming performance, higher water resistance with wider food contact regulatory approval compared with the standard PVOH. Some of the experimental parameter investigated in this study to improve barrier properties such as oxygen, flavor barrier and Oil and Grease resistance while at the same time maintaining good repulpability include the use of various additives, suitable multilayer structures and variety of coating techniques. In addition, the study will also summarize our current work to further achieve Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) in the single digits cc/ at 20deg.C and 85-90% relative humidity. The presentation will conclude by presenting detailed data on how hydrophobically modified PVOH can further contribute to the sustainable packaging movement.
Yuta Taoka | Manager, Poval R&D Department, Kuraray Co., Ltd.
Sustainable Plastic Replacement Through Applied Innovation – Thermoformed Molded Fiber

Additional Presenter: Emily Parsons, Product Launch Engineer in Barriers & Molded Fiber at Solenis

Plastic food service packaging provides both restaurants and customers a solution that is effective and economical.  However, it possesses significant sustainability challenges.  A sustainable alternative is thermoformed molded fiber.  Although possessing a significantly better sustainability profile vs. single use plastics historically molded fiber did not perform as well and was not perceived as cost competitive.  Solenis and Zume have been working together to bridge the performance and cost gaps to provide “fit for use”, sustainable, competitive single use food packaging.
Michael Gorges | Director Enterprise Solutions, Zume
Networking Lunch
Session VIII: Focus on Logistics & Supply Chain within the Industry
< Session Description >
It is no secret that logistical issues and challenges have been happening more across the supply chain
over the last few years. This session will feature a panel that will dive headfirst into these challenges with
members from across the industry.
PANEL: How Can We Work Together to Handle Current Supply Chain Challenges?
Moderator: Steve Ottone, Technical Service Manager, Omya

  • Bill Rojack – VP, Midland
  • Ron Horner – Chief Procurement Officer, Corporate Purchasing, Novolex
  • Jonathan Levine, Co-Founder and CEO, Folia Materials
  • More coming soon!
The panel will dive into current challenges and issues within the supply chain at the moment and look at ways we can work together to help the areas move forward; while also complying to regulations, appealing to consumer insights, and more.
Session IX: The Importance of Sustainability, Recyclability, & Composting
< Session Description >
This session will explore topics that continue to rise in importance every day. We will be focusing on new and exciting sustainable, recyclable, and composting standards, testing results, things you need to know, and why you can’t stay on the sidelines when it comes to working for the future.
Eucalyptus Pulp Industry: Bringing Innovability to the Bioeconomy
Join us for a conversation about how the eucalyptus pulp can help the specialty paper market grow competitively and which are the practices that make it sustainable
Robert Bronson | Commercial Manager, Suzano
Recyclable? Says Who?
With sustainability now taking a major role in corporate strategy, CPG brand owners want to portray their product packaging as complaint with the circular economy. Therefore, the packaging must be recyclable (at a minimum). At the same time there are new concerns about greenwashing, with marketing campaigns making statements that may not be backed by science and thereby create the illusion that the packaging is greener than it really is. How is a consumer to know if a package really is recyclable, and WILL BE recycled effectively, versus being rejected in the sorting or recycling process?
The reality is, for a paper-based package recycling claim to be valid, there needs to be a standard to refer to perform the assessment, with associated certified test methods. If we consider the adjacent feature of compostability, there are indeed recognized standards, approved test methods, and independent businesses that perform the testing, and the certification. What would be the consequences of a parallel system for recycling – will the cost and effort really drive awareness, recycling compliance, and improve the actual percentage of paper packages that enter the recycle stream and get processed into new paper materials?
This presentation will review the current paper recycling test protocols, standards, and test methods that are in existence. It will explore what facilities are performing these testing assessments, and what can be claimed afterward. Lastly, a roadmap to a universally accepted paper recycling standard will be proposed, along with potential consequences.
Scott McNutt | Consultant, Nextep Partners LLC
Field Disintegration Testing, Paper in Industrial Composting
Additional Presenter: Alex Thomas - Special Projects Lead and University of Wisconsin (Stevens Point) Fellow, Compost Manufacturing Alliance

As corporate sectors continue to address long-term environmental impacts of single use food service items, industrial composting continues to gain attention as a viable end-of-life option. In today’s composting systems, specialty papers are a primary component of food service packaging portfolios, while the study of their compostability and paper is still an area to pioneer in both the laboratory and the piles. Learn about CMA’s field work and efforts to connect product designers and compost manufacturers to better understand the disintegration characteristics of paper, coatings, substrates, and additives in commercial composting systems.
Diana Lloyd-Jones | Account Manager, Compost Manufacturing Alliance
Closing Remarks