ECOR® | The Shape of Green to Come ™
ECOR® is an innovative environmental core technology offering an extensive new generation of highly versatile, strong, lightweight, three-dimensional engineered molded fiber (3dEMF) panel products manufactured from an almost unlimited variety of readily-available, low-cost and underutilized raw material sources.
About Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation
Line of the Inevitable
Robert L. Noble, Founder/Chairman & James Torti, Ph.D., CEO Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation
Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation was founded on the premise that rapid manufacturing technology development and commercialization of new panel products and other building materials can transform the architecture, furniture, interior design and construction industries. One of the most promising segments, the wet‐process engineered fiber‐based panel industry has perhaps the greatest potential for significant impact and growth worldwide. Further, this industry segment may prove to provide the arena for a disruptive leap in how architects, interior designers, industrial designers and other design and manufacturing professionals in many markets apply their creativity and commercial endeavors in the years to come. We believe this transformation is inevitable...the only question is when.
Significant change to the old industry models of panel production and industry use appears inevitable, and beneficial to communities, consumers, the public at‐large…and the environment. Just one among an extensive array of benefits, wet process three dimensional engineered molded fiber production can be de‐centralization by being located in forest areas, urban areas, and agricultural areas, throughout the US. Critical building materials can be all of these: "forest products", "urban products" and "farm products.", bring jobs, environmentally responsible business and other economic development to virtually any location in our country. In addition, energy efficiencies (and therefore the environmental benefits) of sourcing raw materials near production facilities, and producing products nearer to final markets is fundamental to the evolution of the industry.
We believe there is currently a "convergence" of forces that will cause new, more energy and resource efficient panel and material raw material sourcing, product manufacturing and distribution models. We also believe that wet‐process fiber‐based panel product manufacturing has significant advantage over dry process panel manufacturing, and that our company's ECOR® products will prove this out. Our company's focus is to have our "hardened" full production facility, "Line 1", operating in the US by Q3Q4 2011, and since our company's progress over five years has confirmed for us our founding assumptions, and more, we thought to give a lofty title to our presentation: "The Line of the Inevitable."
With ECOR®, rural, urban, prairies, desert and ranch lands/areas, in addition to forested regions, will be centers of new 'green' production. Not reliant on virgin and post‐industrial waste wood, our 3dEMF™ wet process will use waste paper, cardboard, newsprint, agricultural fibers, bovine processed fibers (cellulose from cow manure) and other abundant, readily available, low cost raw material sources of post‐consumer waste creating a new generation of jobs and opportunity.
These raw material sources of agricultural fiber (waste and cash crops) will create new trade in rural areas. In the not‐to‐distant future, perhaps hemp, corn silage, wheat, kenaf, rice and others can provide farmers an opportunity to build a new 'green' manufactured product industry within their own communities, states and regions. Prairie grass and other waste or underutilized fiber may also be used in those regions without depleting food crops or forests. Combined with waste cardboard, paper and Ag fiber, 'green' production lines can be located virtually everywhere.
Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation
Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation (NET), is an early‐stage market disruptive and innovative technology company founded to commercialize ECOR®‐branded products and processes. NET has developed an exclusive eco‐friendly, Three‐Dimensional Engineered Molded Fiber (3dEMF) Composite Panel technology, called ECOR® Advanced Environmental Composite.
The goal of the Company is to create revenue and profitability through the development of its intellectual property rights in new green technology and sustainable product design. Key business channels include manufacturing, licensing, alliance partnerships, design collaborations and business development cooperatives between large and small enterprise, across industries and the globe.
ECOR® Advanced Environmental Composite
ECOR® is a revolutionary product that is an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional wood, fiberboard and other composite panel products.
ECOR® uses a variety of sustainable 100% recycled post‐industrial, post‐consumer and agricultural by‐products and requires no adhesives in the wet forming process. The resulting product is an extremely strong, remarkably lightweight, non‐toxic and versatile material with significant profit potential along with a host of positive economic, social and environmental implications. The Company is a California‐based Corporation with:
- Exclusive and comprehensive ECOR® patent‐pending technology;
- A completed two‐year USDA exclusive research collaboration (CRADA);
- Completed manufacturing facility engineering and design specifications;
- Post‐production and prototyping capability in San Diego, California;
- Well‐established branding, sales and marketing platform;
- Sales and market initiatives with major brand clients including BMW Design Group, Disney, Starbucks, Steelcase, Haworth, IKEA, Nordstrom and Starwood Hotels & Resorts;
- ECOR® prototypes with high value‐add, Advanced Product Applications (APA's);
- An in‐place management team with significant financial, business development, architectural, environmental, brand, sales and manufacturing expertise.
ECOR® panels and Advanced Product Applications (APA's) far exceed the growing eco‐demands in the market place and ECOR® manufacturing is a new, clean technology that is environmentally and economically superior to any panel production that exists today. Compared to existing manufactured specialty and commodity panel products, ECOR® products have highly differentiated and easily identifiable advantages:
• Made from 100% recycled materials
• Formaldehyde‐free, non‐toxic with zero off gassing
• Up to 4X stronger than other products of similar weight
• Approximately 1/4 the weight of competing products
• Significantly reduced shipping costs due to lower product weight
• Significantly reduced injury, handling or damage claims due to lower product weight
• Wide array of readily available, low cost, raw material sources
• High profit margin opportunities in both component panels and value add products
• Improved pliability and workability
• Dramatic ability to form product in compound curves and an almost limitless variety of shapes
Differentiated, combined properties, including its environmental sustainability, distinctive shaping, potential compound curves/forming and significant strength‐to‐weight ratios make ECOR® suitable for use in thousands of global product applications in multiple industries ranging from aerospace, automotive, aviation, marine, rail, industrial & manufacturing, military/logistics and consumer products.
Select, targeted industries based on US market size for ECOR® include, but are not limited to Consumer Products Packaging; Department of Defense Container Applications; Transportation and Warehousing; Aerospace and Aviation; Packaging and Shipping Containers; Furniture and Furnishings; Department of Defense Military and Construction Housing; Marine & Rail Interiors; Train, Subway & Transit Car; Sign Manufacturing; Tradeshow & Point of Purchase Displays; Boat Building Industry; Interior Design; Stage Sets and many others.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY – PATENTS & TECHNOLOGY The Company has made significant progress in the development and refinement of ECOR® 3‐D and flat molded fiber panels, including key advances in the following areas:
1. New fiber sources – preparation requirements & combinations (matrices);
2. Bovine Processed Fiber (BPF) matrices with other fiber sources;
3. Compilation of fiber resource data within the ECOR® Fiber Database Library (FDL);
4. Structural design and performance data;
5. Forming time and other related parameters;
6. Pressing time & heat/pressure data;
7. Forming stage design;
8. Mold design & durability (production lifespan);
9. Pressing stage design;
10. Post‐production (panel modification) design;
11. Additives, coatings and resin‐impregnation;
12. High performance composite consumer product design and engineering;
13. ECOR® corrugated & flat panel production;
14. ECOR® laminated structural panel production;
The Company has developed a number of trade names, technologies and other proprietary innovations that are candidates for IP protection. In addition, the Company possesses patent applications, trademarks, trade secrets and technical know‐how that need special attention with respect to internal controls and confidentiality. Patent pending applications include IPA No. PCT/US09/38650 & 38660; USPA No. 12/412,554; USPA No. 2010/0078985. For the work completed to date, the Company has engaged the services of IP counsel Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch, LLP of San Diego.
ECOR® Wet Process Production
The process that produces ECOR® panels is a model of refined simplicity.
Similar to the "wet" process used for many years to produce paper and cardboard, the ECOR® process creates a wet fiber "stew" or matrix similar to paper pulp, which can be formed in a flat or corrugated mold to a uniform thickness. Water is extracted from the fiber matrix, first using suction, then by using heat and pressure, which are applied in a process that allows the cellulose fibers to form naturally strong yet pliable bonds. Many different fibers and fiber combinations (matrices) have been tested successfully to create strong but lightweight, flat and three‐dimensional molded fiber panels.
The Company's proprietary manufacturing technology for processing, molding, and bonding new and recycled cellulose fibers (wood, plants, recycled paper, etc.) achieves equal or far superior fiber adhesion, panel strength and uniformity compared to traditional "dry‐process" products, but with less weight and no toxic additives. In fact, we use NO additives, and therefore, no petroleum‐based products. In addition, the wet process allows for a much broader range of potential raw material sources.
The ECOR® manufacturing process consists of three basic stages:
1. Raw material processing (hydro‐pulping to create a hydrous fiber suspension);
2. Wet forming (former box molding and vacuum water extraction);
3. Heat pressing (water extraction and cellulose bonding);
ECOR® is the Design™
Products currently in design or completed include a broad depth and breadth of cross‐industry opportunities and interests with select examples including: The following product categories are just some of the potential fields of use for ECOR® products:
• Furniture and Furnishings
• Tradeshow, Signage and Point‐of‐Purchase (POP) Displays
• Stage Sets
• Aerospace/Aviation Applications
• Marine and Rail Interiors
• Department of Defense Container Applications
• Instrument Cases
• Flight Cases & Luggage
• Packaging & Shipping Containers
• Acoustic & Ceiling Materials
• Wall and Roof Systems for Quick Deployment, Temporary and Permanent Buildings
• Construction Products and Building Systems
• Formwork for Concrete and Other Materials
• Panelized, Reusable Road‐Beds
• Consumer Products
• Industrial Design Applications
• Architectural and Ornamental Millwork
• Machinery & Equipment
• Commercial Printing Substrates
There has been no period in history where environmental technologies and products have dominated more headlines, industry and consumer interest, private and public funding and broad government and public policy for sustainability, clean materials and clean energy initiatives. Clean materials, clean energy, including green technology and manufacturing, is a megatrend for future economic growth fueled by more than $200 billion per year of private‐sector investment into this marketplace.
In addition, never before has the global architectural, industrial and interior design community sought unique, innovative, creative and especially eco‐advanced materials for their product and built designs.
Notably, Materials ConneXion®, a leading global materials consultancy and library of sustainable materials www.materialconnexion.com with offices and major corporate clients all around the world, endorsed ECOR® in December 2009 in the natural and process categories igniting the expanding
exposure for the technology, products and broad range applications.
|Symbol||Target Market||Segment Opportunities||ECOR® Applications|
|DI||Displays||Trade Show & Exhibition Displays Retail & Point of Purchase Displays||Trade show displays, Green Exhibiting, POP Advertising, Store Display, Shelving, Signs, Panels, Racks, Table?Top Displays, Counters and Kiosks, Wayfinding|
|EN||Entertainment||Television, and Live Stage Sets; Media Product Packaging & Merchandising
||Stage sets, Properties, Special Effects, Set building Systems, Screens, Partitions, Platforms, Sign and Set Panels, Acoustic Panels, Media Product Packaging, Risers, Marketing Displays|
|FI||Furniture & Interiors||Furniture & Cabinetry; Architecture & Interior Design
||Formwork, Podiums, Partitions, Shelves, Cabinets, Armoires, Bed frames, Chairs & Stools, Lounges, Tables, Benches, Screens, Table bases, Lighting / Lamps, Mirrors, Accessory Racks, Storage Systems|
|SG||Sporting Goods||Sporting Goods Equipment & Merchandising||Surfboards, Skateboards, Skis, Sleds, Skate Ramps, Paddles, Backboards, Ping-Pong, Pool/Game Tables, Casino Gambling Tables, Roulette Wheels|
|CP||Consumer Products||Retail Consumer Home & Office Products / Non?Durable Goods||Clip boards, Marker boards, Lighting/Lamps, Picture frames, Painters Panels (canvases)|
|AC||Arts & Crafts||Arts & Craft Supplies & Materials||Painters Panels, Canvases, Palettes, Easels Graphics, Models, Forms, Blank Sign Material, Art Cases|
|MI||Musicial Instruments||Musical Instrument & Sound Equipment Cases
||Guitar Cases, Mandolin, Violin, Banjo & Other Stringed Instrument Cases, Brass & Woodwind Cases, Road Cases Flight Cases, Shipping Containers, Speaker Cabinets, Drum Forms|
|CO||Construction||New Residential & Commercial Construction; Home & Business Remodeling
||Formwork, Canopies, Ceiling Panels, Raised Floors, Scaffolding, Built-ins, Partitions, Panelized Roadbeds, Wallboard, Acoustic Panels, Shelving, Doors, Frames|
|SB||System Buildings||Manufactured Housing; Recreational Vehicles; Emergency Housing
||Mobile Homes, Manufactured Houses, Panelized Systems, In?fill Panels, Temporary Shelter, Huts, Pods, SIPS (structural insulated panel)|
|IT||Industrial/Technology||Industrial & Manufacturing Applications||Panels, Platforms, Partitions, Boxes, Tubes, Pipes, Channels, Chutes, Plates, Forms, Component Parts|
|PC||Packaging & Containers||Shipping & Mailing; Domestic & Global Containers Freight||Boxes, Crates, Pallets, Cushioning Material, Bases, Forms, Frames|
|ML||Military Logistics||Military Logistics & Field Operations, Rapid Deployment Support||Modular and Panelized Buildings, Wall Systems, Container Systems, Quick Deployment Hospitals, Temporary Shelters, Vehicle Cargo Boxes, Pallets, Crates|
|AE||Aerospace||Commercial & Military Aircraft Manufacturing, NASA||Bulkheads, Trays, Armrests, Panels, Wings, Elevators, Rudders, Control Surfaces, Fuselages, Floor Systems, Frames, Lifts|
|AU||Automotive||Automobile, Truck & Trailer Manufacturing||Panels, Seating, Components, RV Furniture, Cabinets, Built?ins, Bulkheads, Partitions, Doors, Walls, Acoustics, Cartbeds, Ceilings, Roofs Systems, Trays, Tables, Floors, Truck Trailers|
|MA||Marine||Commercial & Leisure Boat & Recreational Watercraft Manufacturing||Bulkheads, Trays, Tables, Furniture Cabinets, Built?ins, Partitions, Panels, Bed Frames, Floors, Roofs, Platforms, Hulls|
|RA||Rail||Freight & Passenger Rail Car Manufacturing||Box Cars, Floors, Panels, Roofs, Frames, Furniture, Built?Ins, Shelving|
|SA||Specialty Applications||Miscellaneous Commercial & Household Applications||Bins, Trays, Trash Cans, Waste baskets|
The prospects and demand for ECOR® have been progressively seeded over the past 48 months. We continue to amass leads and interests to our database on a daily basis and are currently participating in a number of key placements of custom‐made ECOR® products and furnishings all around the country. Many current interests are also being generated from Europe Asia.
It is also important to note that over 50 of the top 500 companies in the world in Green Rankings' according to Newsweek 2009 have expressed an interest, have sampled or are designing products using ECOR®: Key interests in the End User area include IKEA, Starbucks (#10), Walt Disney (#34), Starwood Hotels & Resorts (#46), Nordstrom (#136), Herman Miller and Westfield.
Forrest Product Industry
With the supply of virgin raw materials (e.g., raw timber and other forest products) dwindling worldwide due to deforestation and other causes, the need for versatile, low‐cost, sustainable fiberboard and other composite panel products is increasing nationally and globally. As the following figures show, U.S. consumption of particleboard, MDF and OSB has increased dramatically in the past decade as domestic production has stagnated. There has been a significant increase of particleboard and MDF imports.
There is a market opportunity for domestically produced ECOR® to take market share from these foreign‐made products. The collapse in lumber production over the past 3‐4 year has sharply curtailed the supply of sawmill residues in North America, creating difficulties for companies which have traditionally relied on residues for their feedstock, including pulp mills, panel board producers and pellet mills. As the supply of residues has dried up, users have been forced increasingly to source whole logs as their raw material.
This has put significant upward pressure on pulpwood prices, at the same time as the recession has been putting downward pressure on sawlog prices. In the US South, for example, pulpwood stumpage prices in Q1 2009 have been at or near record highs. This is partly due to the exceptionally wet weather at the turn of the year, and partly to the currently strong pulp market that has kept pulp mills running at high operating rates. Although stumpage prices now seem to be dropping back slightly as harvesting conditions improve, the upward trend over the past five years is clear to see.
German sawmills have experienced price increases of up to 20% for sawdust and woodchips. The proposed increases are being attributed to rising log costs due to limited round wood harvesting and reduced operating rates at several sawmills. At their current rates of population increase and raw material utilization, China and India alone may significantly deplete, through building and paper/cardboard manufacturing, worldwide forest reserve production of virgin lumber and high quality pulp.
At the same time, there is an abundance throughout the world of readily available but drastically underutilized cellulose fiber resources in the forms of post‐consumer paper, cardboard, container/packaging, building waste, and underutilized agricultural fibers, including native and domestically produced fibers (plants and crops, weeds and grasses), as well as bovine processed fiber.
The supply of wood residues in Western Europe also remains tight, prompting several strategic implementation initiatives of new ECOR® product and manufacturing technologies that represent highly viable solutions to this worldwide challenge, with the potential to stimulate the creation of new agricultural and urban industries with positive social, environmental and economic implications for communities across the globe.
Proponents of sustainable agricultural point to the increased planting of fiber crops as a means to creating better crop diversity and improving agricultural economies:
In the US, almost 80% of all annual row cropland is used to produce three main crops – corn, soybeans and wheat. That does not represent diversity or sustainability. The intensive agricultural practices currently used require high levels of fertilizer and chemicals on those crops. Adding new crops that are rotated with conventional crops will reduce overall pesticide and other chemical use, will contribute to maintaining soil fertility, and will help to reduce surpluses. . . . (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 12.)
It is widely accepted that the over‐concentration and overproduction of a relatively small number of food and feed crops is having adverse effects on the sustainability of worldwide agriculture, just as an over‐reliance on virgin forest products poses challenges for the construction industry and major manufacturing sectors. In truth, the challenges facing the forest products industry and commercial agriculture are not very different. According to Russ Clark, at the EPA's Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Program: "As sustainable forestry issues become more defined, we have to also look at sustainable agriculture." (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 12.) One obvious solution to both of these problems is to create a sustainable demand for a diversity of sustainable crops, including fiber crops with applications in creating structural panels such as ECOR® panels and products.
ECOR® "green engineered" manufacturing processes represent a fundamental improvement over the resource‐and energy‐intensive fiber‐product manufacturing models associated with the traditional forest products and agricultural fiber industries. The result is a manufacturing system that will prove highly profitable, ecologically sound, socially responsible, and relatively insulated from the supply‐side volatility of the energy & petrochemical markets.
Finally, the US generates a significant agricultural trade surplus, which was $23 billion during the year that ended September 20, 2009 with more than 25% of annual farm revenues directly tied to exports. Despite their own investment in research and development in this area, the USDA sees exports as critical economic stimulus for reviving the rural economy, yet have somehow overlooked and untapped the abundant farm waste, by‐product and raw material sources that have proven viability for green production opportunities that exist through commercialization of this new technology.
Designers specify sandwich construction for much the same reason architects use I‐BEAMS and trusses: to increase stiffness and strength while at the same time decreasing weight. Panel and core materials that typically meet both strength and weight requirements include lightweight metals, plastics, wood and wood by products alone or in combination.
With the increasing demand for 'green' products and the growth of LEED, FCS, ICC and other certification standards worldwide and throughout industries, the demand for sustainable products has never been greater than it is today.
Initially, by positioning ECOR® products as high performance engineered panel products with unique structural and environmental features, ECOR® can effectively compete with lighter, non‐structural specialty panels such as foam cores, paper honeycomb, balsa cores, and higher‐priced structural products, particularly plastic and aluminum honeycomb. Substantial markets for these comparable specialty materials presently exist. ECOR® panels, in comparable configurations, are cost‐competitive with these materials, while providing performance, fabrication, and superior environmental advantages.
ECOR® products will also compete against other, less widely distributed specialty products, and possibly against specialty products currently under development by other companies. These include, but are not limited to pressure‐formed composite panels made with polymer resins, engineered panels made form agricultural fibers, plastics, wood, aluminum and others.
The unique characteristics (e.g., resin‐free, recycled fiber content) make ECOR® highly competitive. The Company's focus on an accelerated market entry through key strategic partnerships, value‐add product offerings, as well as, the diversity of applications and industries will establish and differentiate ECOR® from would‐be competitors.
Competing Commodity Panel Products
While the Company does not initially plan to compete in the commodity markets, it is confident that as ECOR® production volume begins to approximate these markets, that lower pricing will be a new level of significant growth and expansion.
In the long run, the Company believes its products will become increasingly competitive in larger markets (e.g., construction, architectural millwork, etc.) that are currently dominated by traditional forest product "commodities" such as plywood, particleboard, MDF, and OSB. As the drive to find low‐cost, renewable, earth‐friendly materials increases, so will the appeal of ECOR® products in these fields. With a significantly lower cost basis for raw materials, energy, and production overhead when compared with traditional forest products fabrication methods (e.g. particleboard, MDF most of which are manufactured overseas and exported to the United States), and with what management believes is a superior end product, the Company has attained a highly favorable cost: benefit ratio that will give ECOR® products a clear competitive advantage over similar products in most markets.
The four key commodity products are particleboard, medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood (predominantly softwood), and oriented strand board (OSB).
Particleboard: Global production of particleboard is approximately 40 million cubic meters and (projected to increase to over 84 billion in 2013 – don't know about this stat, but there is not much growth in global PB production). Particleboard is typically composed of wood cellulose particles that are combined with a synthetic resin bonding material. Known for its uniformity, flatness, and dimensional stability, particleboard is used primarily for interiors, counter and floor underlayments, cabinets, and furniture components.
MDF: Global production of MDF in 2010 was estimated at 70 million cubic meters, of which 62% was produced in Europe. MDF is typically composed of wood cellulose fibers, as opposed to discrete particles, that are combined with a synthetic resin bonding material. Furniture and cabinetry are the major markets for MDF because of its smoothness, dimensional stability, good paint adhesion, and its ability to hold decorative cuts and lines.
Don't have the Plywood and OSB numbers – APA in Tacoma would be the trade association that has this info.
Plywood: Plywood is normally divided into softwood and hardwood sub‐categories, with softwood plywood production exceeding the production of hardwood plywood by approximately 7:1. Softwood plywood is used extensively in building construction, although, its market share has been eroded in recent years by OSB. Asia, Europe, North America and other regions based panel production and consumption accounts for 91% of the world's capacity. Asia production of plywood is estimated at 28 million cubic meters in 2005, while global production of
OSB: Since 1992, when OSB was certified to perform as well as softwood plywood for building construction uses, domestic production of OSB has increased dramatically, as have OSB imports, which more than doubled between 1995 and 2005 and continue to surge in growth. In 2005, the USDA estimates OSB production was approximately 15 billion square feet. (Source: on | ECOR® is a trademark of Noble Environmental Technologies Corporation)
ECOR® & The "New Green" Manufacturing Model
As the world economy continues to slowly progress through recession and new markets are created with a vision to the future, there is a great opportunity to create new 'green' commerce hubs throughout the US and internationally. Rural areas and urban centers, inland areas and coastal regions, rangelands and prairies, farmlands and forests – all can be centers for 'new green manufacturing' (without the adverse environmental effects of odor, waste, sewer, etc.).
Urban sources of post‐consumer fiber waste such as OCC and ONP can be as significant and productive as rural sources of underutilized agricultural fiber such as BPF and crop residues. These highly sustainable fiber sources are much more widely distributed and more readily available than virgin wood, or even waste wood fibers, and can be utilized at much lower cost. Integral to the development of this truly sustainable, generative and productive model of clean‐technology and 'green' manufacturing is the development of new economic hubs of activity to efficiently connect the dots between raw material sources, the manufacturing/labor pools and the markets:
• In URBAN areas, licensed ECOR® plants can utilize waste paper, cardboard, newsprint and other post‐consumer waste materials that are plentiful in all cities and towns. Construction of urban‐centered processing and manufacturing plants will also lead to the creation of a new generation of low‐and medium‐skilled 'green' jobs in urban areas that host ECOR® facilities.
• In RURAL areas, an abundance of agricultural fibers, including raw plant fibers and bovine processed fiber (BPF) can be used as raw materials for ECOR®. Underutilized cereal crop residues such as wheat straw and rice straw can be used as effectively as dedicated fiber crops (e.g., hemp, flax, kenaf) for the production of ECOR® products and distribution, potentially giving farmers new opportunities to build new green industries within their own communities, states and regions, thus offsetting losses incurred due to changes in the agro‐economy. This can be done while also achieving higher standards of land, water, and air quality management consistent with current public and governmental requirements.
• On CATTLE RANCHES and DAIRY FARMS, bovine waste (manure) is greatly underutilized, except as fertilizer and bedding. But with natural and mechanical digestion (via anaerobic digester technology already in use at many farms across the national and global landscape), the FPL has found this natural source of cellulose fiber to be ideally suited for use as a primary fiber source for ECOR® products. As an added economic and environmental benefit, the methane produced as a natural byproduct of bovine fiber processing can be used to generate heat and electricity to run an ECOR® production line. Also, water, another bi‐product of dairy farm anaerobic digesters, can be used for the EMF wet production process as well, with most of the water being reclaimed and recycled. These layered value and production enhancements can be achieved with slight modifications to existing technology.
• In FORESTED AREAS, the forest products industry has established long‐standing centers for building product raw material sourcing and manufacturing. Many virgin fiber, as well as pre‐and post‐consumer fiber, sources of raw materials are available in forested areas in the northwest and southeast U.S., and elsewhere. These lumber, cardboard, paper and composite panel manufacturing centers are excellent locations for future raw material sources, and for colocating ECOR® manufacturing and distribution.
In or near PARKS and MANAGED FOREST LANDS, ECOR® manufacturing can utilize wood "waste" and undergrowth currently identified as "fire hazard" material by USDA in its National Fire Plan (NFP) for the reduction of fire hazards in the National, State, and private forests. According to the USDA, many forest stands in the United States are overcrowded and need to be thinned as part of good forest management. In the view of the traditional forest products industry, however, thinned forest materials are considered economically non‐viable – i.e., too small and/or containing too many defects for structural lumber, and/or too costly to transport out of the forest for most commercial purposes. As a result, these underutilized wood fiber materials are often left on the forest floor. In seasonally dry environments typical of the western U.S., this wood‐waste buildup can become a significant wildfire hazard, as recent history has shown, threatening not only old‐growth trees and virgin timber, but also commercial and residential structures in the vicinity. ECOR® manufacturing can provide an economically viable means to utilize this potentially dangerous forest material on a commercial scale while supporting public policy initiatives to reduce forest fire hazards and improve forest management.
• In TROPICAL and RESORT regions (with or without crops, farms, or forests), prairie, tropical and other grasses, along with other waste or underutilized fibers, can successfully be used to manufacture ECOR®. Prairie, tropical and other grasses are abundant throughout the world, and they are known to contain excellent cellulose fiber for wet process engineered molded fiber panel production. Although not yet utilized to the extent of wood‐based fiber sources, sufficient research has shown the viability
of these raw materials.
• Co‐located with EXISTING LARGE INDUSTRIAL, RETAIL, WHOLESALE, COMMERCIAL and other CURRENT PRODUCERS of wide range of raw material sources including, but not limited to waste management facilities, manufacturers, regional distribution centers, large format mega stores and other significant commerce centers. The opportunity to create and add new product, revenue and profit center opportunities to existing businesses in an effort to reduce, reuse and recycle the tons of waste produced each year presents even more compelling, sustainable cross‐industry advantages.
The ubiquity and diversity of ECOR® raw material sources and production sites will inevitably cut down transportation and delivery distances to market, thereby reducing costs and carbon footprint for bringing ECOR® products from factory to end‐user. In addition, panel production near end users will result in lower fuel cost, consumption and less pollution related to the transport/distribution process. Reduced weight of the final product (as low as 30% of traditional wood‐fiber panels and materials) will also significantly reduce the cost of shipping and delivery.
In sum, the energy and labor efficiencies of producing lighter, significantly less toxic, easier to handle products nearer to the final market are abundant.
Agricultural Residue Fibers: While decades of agricultural research and applied technology have worked dramatically to improve worldwide crop yields and crop sustainability in many regions, research on the potential commercial uses of "agricultural residues" (i.e., crop waste products) is a relatively new but growing field. The potential benefits of utilizing agricultural‐residue fibers for structural panel production and other applications are manifold. Currently, not only are these low‐cost, readily available fiber materials under‐utilized; they are often burned by farmers, especially in developing regions, contributing to air pollution and increasing carbon emissions, with only a small percentage being turned back into the soil for amendments.
According to Jeanne Trombly of Fiber Futures: "The biggest opportunity for using non‐wood fibers with little land impact is simply to use the residues of the millions of tons of crops that are already being grown for food and oilseed." (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 11.)
Paper manufacturers have been investigating the potential uses of agricultural residues for several years. A 1996 report by The Paper Task Force report stated:
"Using agricultural residues to make paper helps solve a waste management problem for farmers and provides an additional source of fiber for papermaking. Chemical use throughout the fiber acquisition process is also low. Paper industry experts think that agricultural residues will be more competitive than annual crops because no additional land is required and the agronomic practice has already been developed. Harvesting straw for pulping eliminates the burning of straw and the resulting air pollution. (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 11‐12.)
Leading scientists involved in environmental studies support this position. According to Richard Denison, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at the Environmental Defense Fund:
Using agricultural residues as a fiber source . . . offers clear environmental benefits. These residues are a by‐product of a crop grown for other purposes, rather than being grown directly for use as fiber. Hence, using these residues as a source of fiber represents a beneficial use for an existing waste product while displacing the need for virgin fiber, whether from annual crops or trees. Farmers also avoid generating air pollution that results from the widespread alternative of burning the residues in the field. (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 36.)
From an economic standpoint, farmers are interested in both annual fiber crops and agricultural residues as additional income sources. With this may also come governmental incentives:|
"Governments in the U.S. and Europe are interested in curtailing surplus grain production by encouraging farmers to grow non‐food crops on agricultural land. Annual fiber crops are considered attractive rotational crops. Using agricultural residues would allow fiber production without additional land use. (Kinsella, et al, "The Environmental Paper Listening Study," 21.)
Out to the Market
ECOR® intends to be the first to market with fiber product technologies that will align naturally and profitably with these important trends in sustainable, viable, global market opportunities, innovation and world resource management.
NET has a proven technology that is market‐ready. Currently, sample and panel inventory produced at the USDA, Forest Products Laboratory in Madison, Wisconsin are available in limited quantities with the support of additional production availability as R&D product. ECOR® is mobilized to go into full production with a goal for self‐sufficiency through integration of panel production and creating the value add prototypes, products and applications. The Company is additionally pursuing multiple direct selling opportunities including ecommerce, licensing, development and associated fees.
We believe the prospect of low equipment costs, scalable production with minimal variance in production quality and cost (as has been demonstrated), enhanced or lower cost of co‐location with existing underutilized, undervalued raw material sources, and improved efficiency in terms of delivery of products to market make ECOR® an extremely economically and environmentally compelling technology and product offering.