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CFC Technical Paper Nr.

58

Utilisation of Cotton Plant
By-Produce for Value Added Products

Final Report of Project CFC/ICAC/20

Final Report
Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-produce
for Value Added Products
CFC/ICAC/20
Project Duration 01.10.2004 to 31.12.2009
Project Funded by
The Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), Netherlands

Under the Supervision of
International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), USA

Executed by
Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (ICAR)
Mumbai, India
July, 2010

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

CFC/ICAC/20

Contents

Contents
Preface
Acknowledgements
Project Profile
Executive Summary
Abbreviations and Acronyms
Chapter 1 : CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk Utilization
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1.1
Cotton Cultivation
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1.1.1
Distribution of Cotton
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1.1.2
Cropping Season
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1.1.3
Low Income from Cotton Farming
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1.1.4
Exploitation of By-products
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1.2
CIRCOT Researches on By-product Utilization ...
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1.2.1
Cotton Stalk
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1.2.1.1
Patrticle Boards from Cotton Stalk
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1.2.1.2
Hardboards from Cotton Stalk
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1.2.1.3
Other Uses of Cotton Stalk
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Chapter 2 : Introduction to the Project
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2.1
R & D in By-product Utilization at CIRCOT
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2.2
Rationale for the Project and Objectives
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2.3
Description of Project Components
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Chapter 3 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 1
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3.1
Estimation of Availability of Cotton Stalk
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3.2
Collection and Cleaning of Cotton Stalk
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3.3
Compaction Trials
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3.4
TransportationTrials
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3.5
Methodology of Chipping of Cotton Stalks and Transportation
of Chipped Material
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3.5.1
Chipping Trials with Different Machines ...
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3.5.2
Cost of Ready-to-use Cotton Stalk Chips
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3.5.3
Transportation of Stalks and Chips
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3.6
Storage Trials
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3.7
Pesticide Residues in Cotton Stalk
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3.8
A Model Cotton Stalk Supply Chain for a 20 TPD Particle
Board Plant
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3.8.1
Storage
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3.8.2
Chipping Stations
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3.8.3
Supply of Cotton Stalk Chips
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Chapter 4 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 2
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4.1
Cotton Stalk Cleaning System
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4.2
Briquetting Trials for Cotton Stalk Wastes
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Chapter 5 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 3
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5.1
The Pilot Plant
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5.2
Trials in Board Making on the Pilot Plant
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5.3
Material Balance
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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

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R & D Trials on the Pilot Plant
5.4.1
Blending with Mulberry Stalks & Bagasse
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5.4.2
Melamine-coated Coloured Particle Boards
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5.4.3
Filler Boards from Cotton Stalks
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5.4.4
Particle Boards Using Chitosan as Binder
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5.4.5
Resin-coated Boards
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Impregnated Paper Laminated Boards ...
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5.5
Commercial Trials
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Chapter 6 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 4
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6.1
Binderless Boards (Hardboards) from Cotton Stalk
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6.1.1
Standardisation of Process Conditions ...
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Large Scale Trial for Binderless Boards ...
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6.1.3
Use of Cotton Stalk in the Preparation of Soft Board ...
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Blending of Cotton Stalk with Hardwood for Hardboard
Preparation
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6.1.5
Overview of Cotton Stalk Hardboards ...
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Chapter 7 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 5
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Techno-economic Feasibility of Particle Board Plants ...
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Cost Estimation for a Particle Board Plant of 10 TPD Capacity
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Cost Estimation for a Particle Board Plant of 20 TPD ...
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Conclusions from the Techno-economic Study
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Chapter 8 : Discussion of Project Findings Under Component 6
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8.1
Importance of Publicity
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8.2
Awareness Meetings and National & International Seminars
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International Workshop on Utilization of Cotton Plant By-produce for
Value Added products
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Chapter 9 : Discussion of Project Findings under Component 7
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9.1
Project Coordination Committee
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ICAR Review Team for Foreign Funded Projects
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Monitoring at Institute Level
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9.4
Evaluation by Mid-term Review Team
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Chapter 10 : Highlights of Results and their Impact
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10.1 Major Achievements of the Project
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10.2 Benefit to Stakeholders
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10.2.1
Additional Income for Farmers
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10.2.2
A New Raw Material for Composite Board Industry
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10.2.3
Avenues for Setting up of Rural Industry
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10.2.4
Employment Opportunities for Rural Youth
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10.2.5
Conservation of Forest Resources
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References
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Annexure I : Highlights of International Workshop
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Annexure II : Composition of Project Coordination Committee
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Annexure III : Report of the Mid-term Review Team
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Annexure IV : Market Survey of Particle Boards and Hardboards ...
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CFC/ICAC/20

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Preface

Preface
The Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai, initiated and
has implemented a project entitled Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-produce for Value
Added Products. The project that became operational in October 2004 was originally
scheduled to be completed by September 2008. With the extension accorded by CFC, the
project work concluded by the end of December 2009. In fact, the Project was a follow-up
of earlier R & D endeavours of CIRCOT which had revealed the technical feasibility of using
cotton stalk, hitherto regarded as almost a waste material, for manufacturing composite
boards for which enormous market exists today in all countries of the world.
CIRCOT research, mostly done on a laboratory scale, was significant from two angles. On
the one hand it seemed to promise the perennially poor cotton farmer an enhanced income
from the sale of what could be called a waste material while on the other it offered hope for
the board industry which has been combating raw material crunch following the ban on
felling of trees and which relies now largely on sugarcane bagasse for its survival.
The CIROCT technologies for making particle board and hardboard from cotton stalk,
despite their success at the laboratory level, were not readily accepted by the industry
which seemed to harbour two apprehensions. Firstly, the technologies had not been put to
pilot plant and industrial trials. The economic viability of the processes thus remained
somewhat nebulous. Secondly, the collection of cotton stalks from vast cotton farms and
processing them into ready-to-use chips are tasks for which the board industry is not
equipped.
The present project was the outcome of CIRCOT's introspection and its eventual resolve to
find remedies for the board industry's apprehensions referred to above. Technical and
spiritual support from ICAC and copious funding from CFC enabled CIRCOT to
conceptualise and execute a project whose final report is being presented to the readers. A
broad profile of the project is furnished elsewhere in this report.
The technical programme of work under the project was divided among what have been
referred to as 'Components' numbered 1 to 7. The 5-year project that commenced on 1st
October, 2004 concluded by the end of December, 2009. CIRCOT was the PEA of the
project while the executing personnel included 8 Scientists of this Institute. Three particle
board manufacturing companies in the private sector were also participants in the project.
The final report comprises ten Chapters and four Annexures besides an executive
summary. The first Chapter provides a general introduction to the project discussing the
importance of cotton by-products and CIRCOT's earlier researches on their utilization in
composite board manufacture. Chapter 2 discusses the rationale of the project and the
various technical components thereof. The project findings under each of the seven
components are presented in Chapters 3 to 9. The 10th Chapter highlights the major
achievements of the project.
The CFC had appointed a Mid-term Review Team whose report is summarized in Annexure
III. The actions taken on its recommendations are also highlighted in this Annexure. One of

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

the recommendations of the Review Team was the conduct of a market survey for particle
boards. The task was entrusted to M/s Mott Macdonald, Mumbai in June 2009. The most
important findings of the survey are gathered in Annexure IV.
From the discussions under different Chapters in this report it would be seen that the PEA
has fulfilled its promise in a convincing manner. The main objectives of establishing a
supply chain model for cotton stalks and demonstrating the CIRCOT technologies to board
manufacturers through pilot plant trials as well as large scale industrial trials have been fully
realized. Techno-economic feasibility of particle board manufacture from cotton stalks has
been established. The board industry seems to be now convinced about the potential of
cotton stalk as an alternative raw material for particle boards.
It is hoped that existing board manufacturers will soon start using cotton stalk in place of
hardwood and bagasse. The lessons learned from the project are expected to benefit
board industries not only in India but in other cotton growing countries too. The
beneficiaries will also include millions of farmers across the globe whose income could be
bolstered by the sale of cotton stalk to the board industry. Rural employment generation,
stoppage of migration of people to urban centres, environment preservation etc. are
additional dividends likely. When all this happens, CIRCOT's dream of creating wealth out
of waste could be said to have transformed into a veritable reality.

CFC/ICAC/20

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements
The Project Executing Agency (PEA) acknowledges with thanks the financial and spiritual
support received from the Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), Netherlands and the
International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC), Washington. Particularly mentionable
are the contributions by Mr. Sietse van der Werff of CFC as well as Mr. Terry Townsend and
Dr. Rafiq Chaudhry of ICAC in the formulation of the project and preparation of the activity
components. Critical comments and constructive suggestions offered by them from time to
time have helped maintain the tempo of project execution.
Project monitoring and discussions by ICAR officials including Director General, Deputy
Director General (Engg), Asst. Director General (Engg) and Asst. Director General (PE)
have been quite inspiring for the project scientists and have helped them retain high pace of
progress in their work. The PEA gratefully acknowledges the support of all the ICAR
officials.
The PEA was under the expert guidance of the Project Co-ordination Committee (PCC)
which held annual meetings to monitor the progress of the project. The support and
suggestions received from the members have greatly influenced decision making at crucial
stages of the project work. The PEA is indebted to the members of PCC including ADG
(PE) ICAR, Director, (CICR), Project Co-ordinator (Cotton), CMD, CCI, Director, DOCD,
Director IPIRTI, Dr. R.P. Kachru, Former ADG (PE), ICAR, Mr. Suresh Kotak, President
COTAAP Research Foundation, Mr. V.S. Raju, CMD, Ecoboard Industries Ltd. and Mr. V.S.
Ramakrishnan, CMD, Homag India Ltd.
The project involved private party participation in the activity component relating to largescale trials of board production. M/s. Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune, M/s. Jolly Board Ltd,
Mumbai and M/s. Cotton Association of India, Mumbai have been the three organizations in
this group. The PEA thanks these organizations for their whole-hearted cooperation.
Three other manufacturers also offered their support in conducting large-scale trials of
particle boards and hardboards. They are M/s. Archid Ply Industries Ltd., Mysore,
Godavari Particle Board Industries Ltd., Nanded and Western India Plywoods Ltd.,
Kannanur.
The cooperation extended by these companies is also gratefully
acknowledged.
The last but not the least is the service rendered by Dr. K.R.K. Iyer, Former Director,
CIRCOT, in the preparation of the Final Report of the project. The PEA thanks Dr.Iyer for
compiling the project findings and transcribing them into an eminently readable document.

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

CFC/ICAC/20

Project Profile

Project Profile
1 Project Title

: Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-produce for
Value Added Products

2 Number

: CFC/ICAC/20

3 Project Executing Agency (PEA) : Director, CIRCOT, Adenwala Road,
Matunga, Mumbai 400 019
India
4 Location

: CIRCOT, Adenwala Road, Matunga,
Mumbai 400 019, India

5 Starting Date

: 1st October, 2004

6 Completion date

: 31 December 2009

7 Financing

: CFC Financing (Loan/Grant) : USD 918,886.00
Co-financing : Nil
Counterpart contribution : - US D 1,271,600.00

Funding Agency

: CFC, Netherlands

Supervisory Body

: ICAC, Washington

Project Personnel : Dr. R. H. Balasubramanya, Principal Scientist &
Head, CBPD (PI)
Dr. A. J. Shaikh, Principal Scientist & Head, TTD
Dr. K. M. Paralikar, Former Head, TTD, Retd. in June 2008
Mr. R. M. Gurjar, Principal Scientist
Dr. P. V. Varadarajan, Principal Scientist
Dr. P. G. Patil, Senior Scientist on lien from December, 2008
Er. S. K. Shukla, Scientist Sr. Scale
Er. V. G. Arude, Scientist Sr. Scale
Private Party Participants :

1) M/s Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune
2) M/s Jolly Board Ltd., Mumbai
3) M/s Cotton Association of India (CAI), Mumbai

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

CFC/ICAC/20

Executive Summary

Executive Summary

This CFC/ICAC project relates to a multi-pronged R & D initiative intended to make the CIRCOT
technologies of particle board and hardboard manufacture from cotton stalk acceptable to industry.
Employing pilot plant trials for refining and fine-tuning the CIRCOT technologies initially developed
on a laboratory scale, carrying out large scale production trials in existing particle board
manufacturing plants and designing a supply chain model for cotton stalks have been the main
thrusts in the technical programme under this project. All these tasks have been accomplished and
it is hoped that the CIRCOT technology will soon find commercial adoption not only in India but also
in all cotton growing countries of the world.
CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk Utilisation
In most countries of the world, cotton farming brings only a meagre profit for the cultivator. High
input costs, low productivity characteristic of rainfed farming and high incidence of pests and plant
diseases are the main reasons for low farm income in India and other similar countries. It has been
realized that the farmer’s income can be augmented if by-products and wastes generated in cotton
cultivation are put to effective utilization.
CIRCOT had directed its research efforts towards developing technologies for making particle
board and paper from cotton stalk which is largely considered as a waste material once the harvest
is over. Preliminary studies had shown that cotton stalk has composition similar to that of the most
common species of hardwood. The CIRCOT technology for particle board making comprises
chipping of cotton stalks to appropriate mesh size (1.5-2 cm), mixing the chips with urea
formaldehyde or phenol formaldehyde, preparation of 3-layered mat (coarser particles in the middle
and finer ones on the top and bottom layers) and pressing the mat between heated platens of a
hydraulic press. The boards thus made under standard conditions of resin concentration, pressure,
temperature etc. are of acceptable quality meeting BIS specifications.
CIRCOT's hardboard technology employs cotton stalk chips for making thermo-mecha-nical pulp
under appropriate temperature and pressure. The mat formed from the pulp is pressed by a 3-step
pressure cycle to get hardboards which also meet BIS specification for quality. No external binder is
used in this process. The lignin present in the cotton stalks acts as the binder. An alternative to
thermo-mechanical pulp making is a biological softening technique also standardized at CIRCOT.
In this technique pulp is formed by the action of microorganisms under specified conditions in a
specially designed digester.
Project Rationale & Objectives
Although CIRCOT researches had established the potential of cotton stalks for use in particle board
& hardboard manufacture many years ago, the industry was not coming forward to adopt the
technologies as they were developed only on a laboratory scale. It was, therefore, necessary to
carry out pilot scale trials and industrial trials to convince the particle board industry about the
acceptability of cotton stalk as raw material. Equally important was the need to evolve a mechanism
for collection and chipping of cotton stalks from the vast cotton fields and transportation of the chips
to the particle board and hardboard plants and thus ensure uninterrupted supply of raw material. All
these efforts would ultimately provide data for techno-economic evaluation of the CIRCOT
technologies. The CFC/ICAC project was conceived with such objectives in view. The following
were the seven components which spelt out the technical programme under the project :

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Component 1:

Component 2 :
Component 3:
Component 4:
Component 5 :
Component 6 :
Component 7 :

Analysis and optimization trials of required logistical (including organizational)
arrangements for collection and transportation of cotton stalks from the field to the
production units, including possible setting-up of pre-processing units at the field
level
Trials for minimum and optimum levels of cleaning and pre-processing of cotton
stalks into chips suitable for processing, at field level and at factory site;
Pilot plant production of cotton stalks-based particle board
Utilisation of cotton stalks for the production of binderless boards
Evaluation of technical/financial feasibility of the proposed processes
Dissemination of project results at national and international levels
Project management, monitoring, supervision and evaluation

Project Findings under Component 1
The availability of cotton stalk in different States in India was assessed by means of questionnaires
handed over to farmers in person at several centres. For uprooting cotton stalk, the use of a simple
mechanical device was found to be convenient. For cleaning the stalks a machine was specially
designed. The logistics of collection and transporting cotton stalks was worked out by employing
bullock carts, tractor-trolleys and lorries. Chipping trials involved different types of machines. The
study has led to the recommendation of a model for cotton stalk supply chain.
It has been confirmed that from 1 ha of rainfed farms, about 1.3 tonnes of cleaned cotton stalk chips
can be obtained while irrigated farms will give as much as 5 tonnes per ha. For a 20 TPD cotton stalk
particle board plant the catchment area will be about 6000 ha of rainfed farms. Ideally cotton stalk
should be transported from cotton farms in bullock carts or tractor trolleys to the chipping centre
situated not beyond 5 km from the farms. For chipping, a machine mounted on a 22 HP tractor to
deliver 7-8 tonnes in 8 hours is found to be appropriate. Chipped material could then be transported
to the particle board factory within 50 km in lorries each of which would accommodate about 6
tonnes. Appropriate industrial utilization of cotton stalk processed in this manner promises the
cotton farmer an additional income of about Rs. 650 (US $ 13.0) per ha of rainfed farm and about
Rs. 2500 (US $ 50.0) per ha of irrigated farm.
Project Findings under Component 2
A cotton stalk cleaning system was designed as a part of the project activity. The machine removes
boll rind, leaves, soil, fibres, etc. from cotton stalk. Trials showed that the machine is effective in
removing unwanted plant parts and soil from the stalk and making it ready for chipping. The waste
generated during cleaning of stalks, after reduction by chipping to 10 mesh size, has been shown to
be good enough for making briquettes of standard quality.
Project Findings under Component 3
A pilot plant for particle board incorporating all the technical features of a commercial plant was
designed and set up at GTC, Nagpur. Several trials were made on the pilot plant for refining and
fine-tuning the technology so that it becomes readily acceptable by particle board industries
presently using other raw materials. The pilot plant is also useful as a demonstration tool to
convince entrepreneurs about the merits of CIRCOT technology. After refinements, the technology
was used in large scale production trials in three existing particle board manufacturing plants.
From the above trials it could be concluded that the CIRCOT technology can be applied in
commercial production of particle boards without any further modifications. The boards made in all

CFC/ICAC/20

Executive Summary

the three factories were found to be of good quality meeting BIS specifications in respect of tensile
strength, modulus of rupture and water absorption properties. Blending trials showed that cotton
stalk blends well with bagasse and mulberry stalks to produce particle boards of standard quality
characteristics.
Project Findings under Component 4
CIRCOT technology for making binderless boards involves pulping of cotton stalks by steaming the
stalk chips under a pressure of 15 kg/cm2 for 2 min in what is known as a thermo-mechanical pulper.
The pulp thus obtained is made into a mat and the latter pressed between heated platens of a
0
hydraulic press. A 3-step pressure cycle at a temperature of 160 C would result in the formation of a
hardboard of acceptable quality.
The method standardized on a laboratory scale was applied to large scale trials in an existing
hardboard manufacturing plant. Cotton stalk pulp, alone as well as in blend with bagasse pulp in 5050 ratio, was used for making binderless boards of about 2.5 mm thickness. The board thus made
had quality characteristics (MOR and water absorption) meeting BIS specifications. It was also
ascertained that addition of cotton stalk to the extent of 10% with hardwood gives boards with
quality no different from that of 100% hardwood boards. It is recommended that existing plants
manufacturing binderless boards from hardwood and bagasse can use cotton stalk as an additional
raw material.
Project Findings under Component 5
Technical feasibility of particle board manufacture from cotton stalk was worked out on the basis of
data from industrial trials conducted in one particle board factory in Pune and another in Mysore.
Cost estimations for 10 TPD and 20 TPD plants were also done . A 10 TPD plant involving a capital
investment of Rs. 58 million (US $ 1.16 million) is shown to command a profitability of about 20% if
cotton stalk is used as the raw material. A plant with a higher capacity of 20 TPD would bring higher
returns of up to 33%.
The economic viability of cotton stalk as raw material for particle board manufacture was
ascertained through a 30 tonne trial in an existing factory presently using bagasse. Substantial
differences between production cost and selling price of cotton stalk boards of 9 mm and 18 mm
thicknesses entailing a profitablity of about 25% have been worked out. This trial thus showed that
factories currently using bagasse can employ cotton stalk as an additional alternative raw material
for board manufacture.
Project Findings under Component 6
Recognising the fact that publicity is vital for the successful transfer of a new technology especially
when it employs an unconventional raw material like cotton stalk, CIRCOT conducted several
awareness meetings in different centres in India. These meetings were intended to sensitize
farmers on the potential of cotton stalks in making composite boards and thus encourage them to
organize collection and chipping of stalks, a task of crucial importance in the successful transfer of
CIRCOT technology. It was equally important to convince entrepreneurs and owners of already
existing particle board factories about the viability of CIRCOT technologies for the manufacture of
boards from cotton stalk.
Besides organizing seminars and awareness meetings, CIRCOT scientists have presented
technical papers in national and international fora discussing the new technologies and the findings
of the CFC/ICAC project. The advantages of using cotton stalk, including the economic, social and

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

environmental benefits that CIRCOT technologies can fetch, have been emphasized in these
papers.
Thanks to the extensive use of publicity instruments, the technologies for cotton stalk utilization are
becoming popular. Sooner or later, 10 TPD and 20 TPD composite board factories are most likely to
be set up in different centres in the country. Existing factories manufacturing boards from other
materials like hardwood and bagasse are also likely to start using cotton stalk as an
alternative/additional raw material.
Project Findings under Component 7
The Project Co-ordination Committee constituted by the PEA comprising an eclectic group of
scientists, industrialists and administrators, with CIRCOT Director as the Chairman held periodic
meetings to review the progress of project and to provide guidance and advice in technical and
management matters. Other monitoring bodies included ICAR's Review Team for Foreign Aided
Projects, Institute Research Council of CIRCOT and the CFC-appointed Mid-Term Review Team.
Conclusions :
A supply chain model comprising collection, cleaning and chipping of cotton stalks and their
transportation to board manufacturing factories has been evolved. Pilot plant trials and large scale
industrial trials have been conducted for making particle board and hardboard from cotton stalk.
The techno-economic feasibility of manufacturing boards from cotton stalk has been demonstrated
to board industry which is now convinced about its potential. In the not-very-distant future, many
particle board manufacturers are likely to start using cotton stalk as an alternative raw material in
place of sugarcane bagasse and hardwood. Once the industrial use of this agrowaste picks up, the
farmer would be able to earn additional income from the sale of cotton stalk to the particle board
manufacturers. Growth of industrial activity, rural employment generation and conservation of
forest resources are other national benefits that are bound to follow.

CFC/ICAC/20

Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in the Final
Report

Abbreviations and Acronyms Used in the Final Report
AOAC : Association of Official Analytical Chemists
BIS : Bureau of Indian Standards
CAI : Cotton Association of India
CBPD : Chemical & Biochemical Processing Division
CCI : The Cotton Corporation of India Ltd
CFC : Common Fund for Commodities
CIRCOT: Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology
COTAAP : Cotton and Allied Products
DARE : Department of Agricultural Research and Education
DDG : Deputy Director General
DOCD : Directorate of Cotton Development
ECD : Electron Capture Detector
GTC : Ginning Training Centre
ICAC : International Cotton Advisory Committee
ICAR : Indian Council of Agricultural Research
IPIRTI : Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute
IS : Indian Standard
MDF : Medium Density Fibreboard
MOR : Modulus of Rupture
MPKV : Mahatma Phule Krishi Vidyapeeth (Agricultural University)
MS : Mass Spectrometer
NGO : Non Governmental Organisation
NIRJAFT : National Institute for Research on Jute and Allied Fibre Technology
PCC : Project Co-ordination Committee
PEA : Project Executive Agency
PI: Principal Investigator
PPB : Parts per Billion
R & D : Research and Development
SPRERI : Saradar Patel Renewable Energy Research Institute
TPD : Tonnes per Day
TTD : Technology Transfer Division
UF : Urea Formaldehyde

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Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

CFC/ICAC/20

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

Chapter 1
CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk Utilization
The project entitled Utilization of Cotton Plant By-produce for Value Added Products
sponsored by CFC and ICAC has been executed by CIRCOT. With this accomplishment,
CIRCOT has demonstrated to the board industry that the processes for making particle
board and hardboard from cotton stalk developed by this institute are of proven technoeconomic feasibility and are ready for commercial adoption. Viewed from two angles, these
technologies are of immense contemporary interest. First, they promise succour to the
board industry facing severe raw material crunch due to depleting forest resources and
spiralling cost of bagasse which is the only material so far used as alternative to natural
wood. Secondly, the CIRCOT technologies would help augment farm income through sale
of stalks to the board industry.
Environmental concerns have, in recent years stimulated researches in the exploitation of
renewable resources. Such researches make better economic sense when they relate to
utilization of waste materials like cotton stalk. With its vast area under cotton cultivation,
India is undoubtedly the largest producer of cotton stalk among world countries and stands
to benefit immensely from commercial exploitation of this putative agrowaste. Profiled in
this chapter is CIRCOT's saga of R & D efforts that have revealed the economic potential
of cotton plant biomass abundant in many Afro-Asian countries.
1.1

Cotton Cultivation

King cotton rules the world of textiles despite inroads made by synthetic fibres. The
economy of about 90 cotton growing counties is greatly influenced by cotton. Cultivated in
over 30 million ha, the annual world cotton production is about 22 million tonnes
constituting 36% of the total fibre production and consumption.
In recent years, India has emerged as the second largest producer of cotton next to China.
The cotton production in 2009-10 in India stands at 5.1 million tonnes as against China's 6.8
million tonnes (Fig. 1). Other major producers are USA, Pakistan, Brazil, Uzbekistan,
Turkey, Australia, Turkmenistan, Greece, Syria and Egypt.
Fig. 1 : Cotton Production during 2009-10 (MT)

FINAL REPORT

1

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

In area under cotton cultivation, India tops the world list (10.1 Mha) with China (5.4 Mha)
and USA (3.1 Mha) closely following (Fig. 2). In productivity, however, India lags behind
most other countries though in recent years, there has been substantial improvement
(Fig. 3 & 4).
Fig. 2 : Area Covered by Cotton during 2009-10 (Mha)

Fig. 3 : Yield Levels Attained in Major Cotton Producing Countries
during 2009-10 (Kg/ha)

2

CFC/ICAC/20

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

Fig. 4 : Production & Productivity of Cotton in India in Recent Years

1.1.1

Distribution of Cotton

Two leading cotton growing States in India are Gujarat and Maharashtra which respectively
account for 26% and 35% of total area under cotton in the country (Table 1). The average
yield is much higher in Gujarat than in Maharashtra on account of better irrigation in the
former. These two States together contribute over 50% of India's cotton crop.
Table 1 : Cotton Crop in Different States in India (2009-10)
State

Area
(Mha)

Punjab
Haryana
Rajasthan
Gujarat
Maharashtra
Madhya Pradesh
Andhra Pradesh
Karnataka
Tamil Nadu
Others
Loose Lint
Total

0.536
0.520
0.444
2.624
3.503
0.646
1.319
0.395
0.087
0.078
10.152

Production
(thousand
tonnes)
272
221
170
1615
1139
306
816
153
85
34
204
5015

Productivity
(kg/ha)
507
425
382
615
325
474
619
383
977
436
494

FINAL REPORT

3

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

1.1.2 Cropping Season
In the northern States of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan which are largely irrigated, cotton
is harvested in the two months of October & November. Farmers in these areas cut away
cotton plants even if some green bolls are still left, so as to clear the land early for the
ensuing wheat crop. Stalks are removed in about a month's time. In other regions, which
are mostly rainfed, harvesting of cotton takes place from October to February. Cotton stalks
are uprooted from around February-March and the process goes on till May-June since
there is no pressure to vacate the field for any other crop.
1.1.3 Low Income from Cotton Farming
Relatively low yield in rainfed areas has rendered cotton farming somewhat
unremunerative in India. Most farmers are unable to make a living out of cotton cultivation.
Ways and means to increase the returns from cotton farming, therefore, need to be
explored.
1.1.4 Exploitation of By-products
Cotton fibre that commands a high price constitutes only about 1/3 of the weight of seedcotton. The ginned seed which is a by-product of cotton and which forms the major part of
harvested cotton ironically fetches only a small price as its sub-constituents have not been
fully utilized. So is the case with the second by-product of cotton cultivation namely the
cotton stalk, which is considered to be of little commercial value. Exploitation of the byproducts of cotton opens up scope for R & D efforts and industrial activity that can
contribute to strengthening the cotton economy in a significant way. (See Flow-chart)
1.2

CIRCOT Researches on By-product Utilisation

The diverse products available from cotton crop after the harvest of seed-cotton and
ginning include seed, linters, hulls, oil and meal which are classified under the broad head
“by-produce”. Cotton stalk is the other biomass available in the field after the harvest of
seed-cotton. In general, there is lack of focus on judicious utilisation of cotton by-produce
not only in India but also in all the Afro-Asian countries whose economies are influenced by
cotton. The bulk of cotton seed is subjected to what is known as whole seed crushing for
extraction of oil and cotton stalks are disposed of by burning in the field itself as otherwise
they would harbour several insects and pests which would be harmful for the future crop1. A
small fraction of seeds is consumed as cattle feed while some of the stalks is used as
domestic fuel. In whole seed crushing, valuable components like linters, hulls, protein and
large fractions of oil go unutilised instead of fetching the much-needed additional returns to
farmers. Equally unacceptable is the burning off of cotton stalks that have in recent years
proved to be of immense economic potential.

4

CFC/ICAC/20

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

Cotton Crop

Harvest

Spinnable Lint

Seed Cotton

Stalks

Ginning

Processes

Cottonseed

Cotton Dust

Processing in Textile Mill

Yarn

Boards

Paper & Pulp

Mushrooms

Processes

Linters

Fibre Waste

Hulls

Oil

Meal

Weaving/Knitting

Willow Machine

Fabric

Recoverable Good Fibre

Willow Dust

FINAL REPORT

5

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

The Central Institute for Research on Cotton Technology (CIRCOT), Mumbai has directed
its R & D efforts in the last two decades to evolving ways and means to utilize the byproducts of cotton crop in various industrial processes and thus bring about value addition.
Presented below is a broad outline of CIRCOT's research on the varied uses of cotton
stalks demonstrating the latent economic value of what is dismissed generally as a waste
material2.
1.2.1 Cotton Stalk
It is estimated that about 25 million tonnes of cotton stalk is generated in India every year.
Most of the stalk produced is treated as waste though a part of it is used as fuel by rural
masses. The bulk of the stalk is burnt off in the field after the harvest of the cotton crop as
pointed out earlier. Cotton stalk contains about 69% holocellulose, 27% lignin and 7% ash
(Table 2).
Table 2 : Chemical Composition of Cotton Stalks
Species

G.arboreum
G. herbaceum
G. hirsutum
G.barbadense
Desi Hybrids
Hirsutum Hybrids
Mean Value
Range of Values

Holo-Cellulose(%)

Lignin (%)

Ash (%)

67.3
69.1
70.0
69.2
67.3
68.6
69.1
67.3 to 70.0

25.8
28.1
27.1
28.2
27.6
24.3
27.0
24.3 to 28.2

7.0
8.3
6.7
8.1
6.8
5.9
7.1
5.9 to 8.3

Desi: Indian description for Asiatic Cottons belonging to G.arboreum and G.herbaceum

In contrast to other agricultural crop residues, cotton stalk is comparable to the most
common species of hardwood in respect of fibrous structure3 and hence it can be used for
the manufacture of particle boards, preparation of pulp and paper, hard boards, corrugated
boards & boxes, microcrystalline cellulose, cellulose derivatives and as substrate for
growing edible mushrooms.
1.2.1.1 Particle Boards from Cotton Stalk
What are Particle Boards?
Particle board is a panel made by compressing small particles of wood while
simultaneously bonding them with an adhesive. The various types of particle boards differ
greatly in regard to the size and geometry of the particles, the amount of resin (adhesive)
used, and the density to which the panel is pressed. The properties and potential uses of
boards differ with these variables.

6

CFC/ICAC/20

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

The technology for making particle board was developed during the second world war,
primarily to meet the acute shortage of timber. In an age of dwindling forest resources, the
use of reconstituted wood gains considerable importance. It is reported that in Western
Europe, particle board has replaced wood in wide ranging applications. The world
production of particle board is estimated to be around 40 million cubic metres and the share
of India in this works out to a meagre 0.06 percent.
The major types of substances used for preparation of boards are :
«
Pieces of wood (wood particles or chips) chopped from a block by a large knife
or hammer or by a pulpwood chipper
«
Chips from cotton stalk and other similar fibrous materials
«
Sugarcane bagasse
«
Bamboo
«
Rice husk
At present, boards are mainly made from wood particles. The increase in demand for sawn
wood and panel materials in the country cannot be met from the existing forest resources.
The regeneration of forest takes considerable time and therefore it is unlikely that forests
alone would provide the raw materials required by the board industries.
Technology of Particle Board Manufacture
As mentioned earlier, particle board is manufactured out of dry wood particles (chips),
which are coated with a synthetic resin binder and formed into flat sheets or mats. Heat is
applied with the pressure, for curing of the resin binder. Urea formaldehyde (UF) is the resin
used in boards for interior applications and phenol formaldehyde is used in boards for
exterior uses. Bitumen is also used for certain specific applications. Particle board may
have a homogeneous structure throughout its thickness or, it could be of a sandwitched
construction, with coarser grains in the middle and finer ones on both sides. Boards are
manufactured in different thicknesses and forms, such as plain, veneered or laminated.
In all developing countries, particle boards have succeeded to a great extent in meeting the
shortage of sawn timber and plywood. The world trend in wood-based panel industries is to
produce more of particle boards in order to minimize the use of the scarce wood resources.
In India, the particle board industry has not been a great success because the European
technology was imported without ascertaining its suitability for adoption. The installed
capacity of particle board industry is about 85000 tonnes per day (TPD) but its utilisation is
only about 41000 TPD. Indian Plywood Industries Research and Training Institute (IPIRTI)
has reported that particle board industry can succeed in India only when boards suitable for
the prevailing tropical environment are produced.
CIRCOT Technology for Particle Boards from Cotton Stalk
Research work on the preparation of particle boards in CIRCOT dates back to 1979-80
when cotton stalk chips were used for the first time4. Detailed studies have since been
made to arrive at the appropriate process sequence and to identify process parameters

FINAL REPORT

7

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

that would ensure the required qualities for the particle board5,6. The CIRCOT process
involves the following steps :
?
Chipping of stalks to 1.5 - 2.0 cm size;
?
Rechipping to particles of 20 mesh size and 8 mesh size;
?
Mixing of chips with synthetic binder such as urea formaldehyde or phenol
formaldehyde;
?
Preparation of a three-layered mat comprising coarser particles for the core
layer and finer ones for the top and bottom layers;
?
Pressing the mat between heated platens of a hydraulic press for specific time
and pressure.
The board thus made is cooled to attain dimensional stability and then cut to the desired
size. By using different chemicals and additives, the boards can be made water proof, fire
proof, termite resistant, etc. These boards have been found to meet BIS specifications in
respect of quality characteristics. Due to the lower cost of raw material and reduced power
required for its conversion into finished product, the cost of particle board made from cotton
stalk will be much lower than that of boards made from wood.
Table 3 : Properties of Three-Layered Particle Boards from Cotton Stalk
Sl.
No.

1.
2.
3

4
5
6

7

8

9

8

Properties

Density
Average Moisture
Content
Water Absorption
I) 2 h soaking
Ii) 24 h soaking
SwellingThickness
Swelling due to surface
Absorption
Modulus of Rupture (MOR)
i) Up to 20 mm
ii) Above 20 mm
Internal bond strength
i) Upto 20 mm thickness
ii) Above 20 mm
Screw withdrawal strength
Face
Edge
Nail withdrawal strength

CFC/ICAC/20

Unit

kg/m3
%

Flat Pressed Three-layer/
Multilayer Particle Board
IS 3087-1985
Type
Type II
500-900
--5-15
---

Cotton
Stalk
Particle
Board
750
11

%

%
%

10
20
8
6

40
80
12
9

20
40
9
6

15.0
12.5

11.0
11.0

17.6
-

0.45
0.40

0.3
0.3

0.51
-

1250
850
1250

1250
700
---

1400
860
1300

2

N/mm

N/mm2

N

N

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

The data presented in Table 3 clearly show that the particle boards from cotton stalks
possess all the desirable properties to be used for internal as well as external applications
such as false ceiling, partitioning, paneling, etc.
Process Parameters and Product Quality
Increase in resin content results in improvement of product performance. Density of boards
and modulus of rupture are found to increase while water absorption and surface swelling
show progressive decline as the resin content is increased. Data in Table 4 demonstrate
that by altering the process variables, it is possible to get particle boards of any desired
quality.
Table 4 : Properties of Particle Boards from Cotton Stalks with Urea
Formaldehyde as Binder
Resin
Content
(%)
0
3
5
8
10
12
13.5
15

Thickness
(mm)

Density
3
(kg/m )

7.1
7.4
7.6
8.0
8.2
8.4
8.5
8.9

700
720
760
780
820
840
840
880

Modulus of
Rupture
2
(N/mm )
6.1
7.4
9.3
12.4
13.3
13.9
17.4
18.6

Water
Absorption
(%)
77
57
42
33
31
28
25
22

Swelling due to
Surface Absorption
(%)
28
22
18
12
10
9
8
6

Pressure: 35 kg/cm2; Temp: 1650C; Time: 4.5 min

Uses of Particle Boards
The applications of particle boards are many. The application areas identified include door
panel inserts, partitions, wall panels, pelmets, furniture items, floor and ceiling tiles, etc. for
residential houses, commercial buildings, schools, hotels, theatres, etc. In recent years,
particle board is being used increasingly in place of commercial plywood in the preparation
of printer blocks.
In all the above applications, substitute materials for particle boards are timber, commercial
plywood, marine plywood and block board in general and for false ceilings in place of
plaster of Paris. The advantages of particle board are many :
?
It is free from natural defects of wood, like tendency for warping.
?
It is easier to fix. For instance, the factory-made panel doors from particle board are

FINAL REPORT

9

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

available in a ready-to-fix form. Similarly, for wall panelling, false ceilings, table tops,
etc., pre-laminated or pre-veneered particle boards can be used with advantage.
?
It is cheaper than substitute materials.
?
With proper protective surface coating and edge covering, particle board can be
made termite proof and fire resistant. It can take a variety of surface finishes, like
laminations, veneers, paint, varnish, polish, etc. Attractive wall paper can also be
used as surface finish for particle boards.
Researches Elsewhere on Particle Boards from Cotton Stalk
Isolated researches on particle boards from plant residues have been reported from
7-12
different centres in India and abroad in the last few decades . Given below are a few
highlights :
?
In 1984, Mahanta attempted to make particle boards from cotton stalk7.
?
The potential of cotton stalks as raw material for manufacturing particle boards
was demonstrated by Regional Research Laboratory, Jammu in 1995. Single
layer boards alone were attempted9.
?
Forest Research Institute at Dehradun10 and NIRJAFT, Kolkata11 have done
extensive research on the utilization of many crop residues like rice straw wheat
straw, jute sticks etc. for making particle boards. Cotton stalk, however, was not
one of them.
?
M/s Bison System Werke* have tested various materials such as bagasse, flax,
cotton stalk and wood particles, and confirmed their suitability for particle board
production. Boards from cotton stalk were reported to show higher water
absorption than other boards, but no remedy seems to have been attempted.
The researches involving cotton stalks referred to above have been perfunctory attempts to
demonstrate the possibility of using cotton plant residue for board preparation. No efforts
seem to have been made for standardizing the process conditions and derive boards of
acceptable quality levels. It was only at CIRCOT where detailed studies were conducted
whereby the technology could be developed and fine-tuned for adoption by industry.
1.2.1.2 Hardboards from Cotton Stalk

Hardboard and fibre board are general terms used to include boards or sheet materials
having density greater than 0.4 g/cm3. Hardboard can be defined as a sheet of material
manufactured from wood or other lignocellulosic materials with the primary bond strength
derived from the inherent adhesive property of the fibres and the hydrogen bonding of the
cellulose molecules. Chemical additives may be included during manufacture to increase
strength, resistance to moisture, fire resistance and other properties of the product.
13
Presently, hardboards are manufactured from hardwood .
A process has been standardised at CIRCOT14 to prepare hardboards from cotton stalks.
The process comprises the following steps:
* From company publication : Annual Plants as Raw Materials for Particle Board Production.

10

CFC/ICAC/20

CIRCOT Researches on Cotton Stalk
Utilisation

?
Chipping of cotton plant stalks
?
Conversion of chips into thermo-mechanical pulp under high temperature and
pressure in a thermo-mechanical pulper
?
Mat formation
?
Pressing of mat in a hydraulic press by a three-step pressure cycle to get
hardboards.
An alternative to the above mentioned thermo-mechanical pulp making has been recently
developed at CIRCOT15. In this novel, inexpensive method, cotton stalks are softened by an
anaerobic microbial treatment at room temperature. This process can render the use of
high pressure and temperature quite unnecessary while converting cotton stalks into pulp.
However, there is need to refine the technology at the pilot plant level for confirming technoeconomic feasibility before commercial application is contemplated.
The boards thus made are subjected to a tempering process using cashewnut shell liquid
or linseed oil. The process involves dipping of hardboards in oil for a specific period and
then drying in an oven at 1500C for different periods depending upon the end use. The
hardboards possess strength and water resistant properties almost meeting BIS
specifications (Table 5)14.
Table 5 : Properties of Hardboards Made by CIRCOT Process
Properties

Cotton Stalk Hardboard by
CIRCOT process
Thickness (mm)
6.0
Density (g/cc)
1.0
2
Bending Strength (kg/cm )
340
Water Absorption (%)
50
2
Tensile Strength (kg/cm )
68.0

BIS Specification
for Hardboards
3-8
0.8-1.2
300
40
-----

BIS : Bureau of Indian Standards

The process of hardboard making is eco-friendly as no chemicals are used either in pulping
or at the blending stage. It is the lignin present in the raw material that acts as the binder.
The boards find application in furniture making, room partitioning, paneling, false ceiling
etc.
Researches Elsewhere on Hardboards from Cotton Stalk
Very few attempts seem to have been made in the past for making hardboards from cotton
stalks. The following reports appear to be worth noting.
?
Cellulose Research Laboratory, Cairo has reported that by blending with cotton
stalk the strength properties of hardboards from rice straw could be significantly
increased16.
FINAL REPORT

11

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

?
The same Laboratory at Cairo has attempted further hardening of hardboards from
cotton stalk by using phenol formaldehyde and certain additives to derive excellent
strength properties17.
It is significant to note that the technologies referred to above were based on combinations
of wet and dry processes using external binders. CIRCOT researches, on the other hand,
have placed stress on wet processes without the use of external binders.
1.2.1.3 Other Uses of Cotton Stalk
CIRCOT researches have generated some more technologies that utilize cotton stalks as
the raw material. Since these technologies are not relevant to the project under discussion,
details are not being furnished. Nevertheless for the sake of completeness a list of such
technologies is given below :
?
Production of pulp and paper from cotton stalk;18-21
?
Biological softening of cotton stalk prior to pulping;15
?
Growing mushrooms with cotton stalk as substrate;

22,23

?
Preparation of microcrystalline cellulose from cotton stalk pulp.

12

CFC/ICAC/20

14

Introduction to the Project

Chapter 2
Introduction to the Project
It has been pointed out in the last Chapter that yield levels in most rainfed segments of
India's vast cotton tracts are very low as compared to those in many other countries.
Although some progress was made in recent years, the country's average yield has always
remained far below the world average. Most farmers are unable to make a reasonable
living out of cotton cultivation. The un-remunerative nature of cotton farming has the
potential to drive millions of small farmers to switch over to other crops leading to a possible
decline in cotton production and compelling the textile industry to rely increasingly on
imported cotton. Seized with such concerns, CIRCOT trained its research efforts on the
utilization of by-products of cotton which have the potential to not only open up new vistas
for industrial activity but also bring additional income for the farmer whose interest in cotton
farming would thus stay undiminished.
2.1

R & D in By-product Utilization at CIRCOT

Research teams at CIRCOT have in the last few decades, been engaged in extensive
study on the utilization of cotton by-products such as cottonseed oil, linters, seed hull, oil
cake, cotton stalk, etc. and have been able to gather voluminous basic information on these
components and develop processes for the industrial exploitation of some of them. Notable
among these are a range of physico-chemical and bio-chemical processes for the
utilization of cotton stalk for applications such as composite board manufacture and pulp &
paper making.
Benefits from Cotton Stalk Utilization
Besides fetching additional income for the farmer, the utilization of cotton stalks is
beneficial in certain other respects too. Removal of stalks from the farm can avert carryover
of pests likely to be hibernating in immature and unpicked bolls left in the plant. Collecting
cotton stalks from the fields and reaching them to factories for the their utilization will
generate rural employment. Further, the use of cotton stalk for making board and paper will
also have a beneficial impact on the environment inasmuch as it would reduce the need for
wood, thereby contributing to the deceleration of the insidious process of deforestation.
2.2

Rationale for the Project and Objectives

As discussed earlier CIRCOT researches in the last many years have amply demonstrated
the potential of cotton stalks for use in the manufacture of particle boards and hardboards.
The processes thus developed on a laboratory scale, however, needed fine-tuning on an
experimental plant, to be followed by scale-up trials in an established board manufacturing
industry. It was also necessary to devise an economic mechanism for the collection and
delivery of cotton stalks from vast cotton growing areas to the board manufacturing units.
Moreover, techno-economic feasibility of CIRCOT technologies was required to be
confirmed through large-scale trials in existing production units before placing them on the

FINAL REPORT

13

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

anvil for commercial exploitation. The CFC/ICAC project was conceived, therefore, with the
following broad objectives:
«
Detailed study of the logistics of cotton stalks collection and transportation,
including pre-processing of the material;
«
Setting up of pilot plant for production of particle boards and hardboards;
«
Refinement of process to ensure high quality of boards and to facilitate
adaptation of the technology by industry;
«
Techno-economic data evaluation in respect of CIRCOT technologies using
pilot plant trials as well as through large-scale trials in board manufacturing
units;
«
Dissemination of information.
The above objectives have been made to reflect fully in the first six out of the seven
components that constituted the technical programme of the 5-year CFC/ICAC project.
Listed below are the project components followed by a brief description of the activities that
were taken up under each component.
2.3

Description of Project Components

Component 1 : Analysis and optimization trials of required logistical (including
organizational) arrangements for collection and transportation of
cotton stalks from the field to the production units, including
possible setting-up of pre-processing units at the field level
Cotton is a seasonal crop harvested in India from October to February. Cotton stalks which
are available only between December and May will require storage over several months to
ensure adequate raw material supplies to board manufacturers for the entire year's
production.
Cotton stalks are bushy in nature and have very low bulk density. Collection and
transportation are, therefore, expensive. Further, on storage in stick form, cotton stalks get
degraded by insect attack. Success of cotton stalks as an industrial raw material would
depend on the establishment of a sustainable supply chain to reach them to the industry.
The activity under the 1st component in the project was, therefore, to evolve a proper
methodology for collecting, processing and transporting cotton stalks either to centralised
chipping units or directly to the board industry. Different models were proposed to be tried
and the most efficient and economical model identified for adoption.
Component 2 : Trials for minimum and optimum levels of cleaning and preprocessing of cotton stalks into chips suitable for processing, at
field level and at factory site
Dry cotton stalks contain a large proportion of undesirable materials such as bark, boll
rinds, leaf bits, cotton lint, dust, etc., that cause processing problems and tarnish product
quality. Bark which constitutes about 25-30% of the weight of cotton stalk contains cellulose

14

CFC/ICAC/20

Introduction to the Project

and lignin, and is quite fibrous in nature. Though strongly attached to the stem, much of the
bark gets separated during chipping. Bark leaves dark spots on the board and increases its
moisture content besides choking the sieves and causing pulping problems.
Pesticide residues constitute another class of unwanted substances in cotton stalks. If
present in cotton stalks, pesticide traces may appear in effluents and finished products
besides being a health hazard for workers. Stalks have to be, therefore, evaluated for the
presence of pesticides and remedial measures, if necessary, would have to be devised.
The aim of the second component of the project was to develop proper cleaning and
screening mechanisms to remove all undesirable and harmful components from stalks so
that clean, ready-to-use material is made available to the board industry. Setting up of a
chipping-cum-cleaning system and standardizing the procedure were to be the main
thrusts under this component.
Component 3 : Pilot plant production of cotton stalks-based particle board
CIRCOT's particle board technology, developed as it was on a laboratory scale, needed
fine-tuning and trials on a pilot plant. This component in the project, therefore, included
setting up of a pilot plant and identifying the process parameters for optimal operational
efficiency with respect to energy consumption, productivity and product quality. Industrial
trials also were to be performed to confirm the values thus arrived at from pilot plant study
and to assess the cost competitiveness of cotton stalk boards.
Component 4 : Utilization of cotton stalks for the production of binderless fibre
boards
Processes developed at CIRCOT for making binderless boards on a laboratory scale using
thermo-mechanical pulp from cotton stalk needed refinement to make it cost effective
when used in commercial production. More trials on a laboratory scale as well as fresh trials
on a large scale in an existing hardboard plant were required to be performed for working
out the economic viability of the hardboard technology. These activities constituted the
agenda under the fourth component in the project.
Component 5 : Evaluation of technical/financial feasibility of the proposed process
This component of project activity included collection of data on production economics so
as to establish the economic viability of the particle board technology under Indian
conditions. Raw material cost, logistics of collection, transportation and storage of cotton
stalk, cost of production of particle board, etc were to be considered while working out the
technical and economic viability.
Component 6 : Dissemination of project results at national and international level
Adoption of CIRCOT technologies by the board industry and the acceptance of products by
the domestic market can be ensured only through effective linkages. Industrial level trials

FINAL REPORT

15

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

conducted in a big way will promote speedy adoption of the technologies. Workshops,
promotional brochures, scientific papers, popular articles etc. will serve as tools for
effective publicity. All these activities formed parts of this component.
Component 7 : Project management, monitoring, supervision and evaluation
The overall responsibility for project management was to be retained by CIRCOT in its
capacity as the Project Executive Agency (PEA). The PEA would prepare annual work
programme, budget and periodic progress reports.
A Project Coordination Committee comprising external scientists and experts from industry
was to review the progress of the project every six months and make suggestions if any.
Mid-term review by expert panel appointed by CFC after 2 years and final evaluation after
completion of the project were also included as important activities under the seventh and
last component of the project.

16

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

Chapter 3
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 1
Component 1: Analysis and optimization trials of required logistical (including
organizational) arrangements for collection and transportation of
cotton stalks from the field to the production units, including
possible setting up of pre-processing units at the field level

3.1

Estimation of Availability of Cotton Stalk

The first task was to estimate the availability of cotton stalk in different regions of the
country for which a survey was conducted. The survey appeared necessary because
cotton stalk available per hectare depends on the variety, plant type, growing conditions
(rainfed or irrigated), soil type and agroclimatic factors.
Questionnaires were prepared in English, Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati and Kannada (local
Indian languages) and data collected by deputing persons to different villages in the
northern States of Haryana and Punjab, central States of Maharashtra and Gujarat and
around Dharwad in the southern State of Karnataka. Farmers were selected at random in
all the centres for the purpose of data collection. The data showed that the stalks
obtainable in the North under irrigated conditions range from 4 to 5 tonnes/ha. In Gujarat,
where cotton is grown both under rainfed and irrigated conditions, the yield of stalks varied
from 2 to 3 tonnes/ha. In Maharashtra, where cotton crop is grown mostly under rainfed
conditions, stalks yield was as low as 1 to 1.5 tonnes per ha. The stalks yield from
Karnataka ranged from 1 to 2.5 tonnes/ha in case of rainfed crop and up to 4 tonnes/ha from
irrigated fields. The data clearly showed that the yield of cotton stalks from Maharashtra is
the lowest. It was also noted that cotton type (variety/hybrid) plays a very important role
besides conditions of growth. The information on State-wise availability of cotton stalks is
given in Table 6.
The survey revealed that in the North, the major part of cotton stalks is used as domestic
fuel. However, farmers were ready to part with at least 50% the cotton stalk available with
them for a payment of Rs. 400 to 500 (US $ 8 to 10 ) per tonne. In Gujarat the stalks are
mostly burnt in the field itself. In Maharashtra, though farmers are using the stalks as
household fuel, they were willing to sell it for as low as Rs. 300 (US $ 6) to as high as Rs. 500
(US $ 10) per tonne. In Karnataka, the survey showed that most of the farmers use cotton
stalk as fuel. Some of them exchange the stalks for farm yard manure. They expressed
their willingness to sell the stalks for a price of Rs. 500 (US $ 10) per tonne.

FINAL REPORT

17

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Table 6 : Availability of Cotton Plant Stalks in India (2008-09)

State

Availability of Stalks
(million tonnes)

1

Gujarat

2.39

7.17

2

Maharashtra

3.12

6.24

3

Andhra Pradesh

0.96

2.40

4

Madhya Pradesh

0.63

1.60

5

Punjab

0.59

2.95

6

Haryana

0.53

1.76

7

Karnataka

0.37

1.26

8

Rajasthan

0.35

0.74

9

Tamil Nadu

0.13

0.70

10 Orissa

0.06

0.27

11 Others

0.04

0.19

9.17

25.28

Total
3.2

Area
(million ha)

Collection and Cleaning of Cotton Stalk

The entire cost economics of board manufacturing technology and the acceptance of
cotton stalk by industry will depend to a large extent on the cost of raw material in a readily
usable form made available at the factory gate. Therefore, the logistics of economic
collection of cotton stalks, chipping and transportation from field to industry, and its proper
storage in different forms at various centres are crucial factors that decide the economic
viability of this raw material.
Trials were conducted in three successive seasons to arrive at the most economic mode of
cotton stalk collection in and around Nagpur where the crop is raised under rainfed
conditions. In this region after the picking of seed cotton, the stalks are not cleared from the
field immediately since there is no subsequent crop. The study started right from the stage
of sensitizing farmers about the utility of cotton plant stalks.
It is comparatively easier to uproot the stalks immediately after the picking is over since the
moisture still present in the soil facilitates uprooting. A metallic device available locally
helped in uprooting the stalks effortlessly as compared to manual pulling. It has been
observed that as many as 7-8 labourers could clear the stalk from one hectare of land in a
day of 8 hours. Although there was no significant difference between manual pulling and
uprooting with the help of the mechanical device in respect of speed, the drudgery involved

18

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

in bending and pulling with hands could be avoided in the latter case. In view of this, the
simple mechanical device is recommended for uprooting the stalks. The stalks thus
collected should be left for 4 to 5 days in the sun during which time, the leaves are shed. The
boll rinds can be removed by gently beating the stalks on a wooden mallet. The cleaned
stalks could then be subjected to chipping at a nearby chipping centre.
Three different models were attempted initially for economic collection and transportation
of cotton stalks at three different locations near Nagpur:
?
Transportation of cotton stalks directly from the field to factory;
?
Chipping of cotton stalks by farmers and transportation to the factory;
?
Collection and transportation of cotton stalks by farmers from the field to the
chipping centre, chipping and subsequent transportation to the factory by an
entrepreneur.
From the study thus carried out, the following conclusions have emerged:
?
About 1.3 tonnes of cleaned chips are obtained per hectare of land under rainfed
conditions while about 5 tonnes of chips are obtained per hectare under irrigated
conditions. (see Flow-chart)
?
Among the various models attempted, the most suitable model is the third model
which comprises uprooting of stalk, storage, manual cleaning, chipping by use
of a tractor-driven chipper at a centralized chipping centre not farther than 5 km
from the field and transportation of chips to the factory within 50 km distance by a
truck. (Detailed discussion will follow later in this Chapter)
?
Transporting cotton stalks beyond 5 km before chipping and beyond 50 km after
chipping so as to make it available in an appropriate form to the industry would
not be an economically feasible endeavour.
?
On an average, the cost of cleaned and chipped stalks to be made available at
the factory gate situated within 50 km from the production centre (farm) would
workout to about Rs.1500-2000 (US $ 30.0 40.0) per tonne of the raw material
with 10% of moisture.

FINAL REPORT

19

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Flow Chart on the Availability of Cotton Stalks

3 tonnes/ha at 40%
moisture

2.4 tonnes/ha
at 25% moisture

Cotton stalks devoid of
leaves after 5 days of
drying in the open field
(leaves contribute to about
5%)

14 tonnes/ha
at 47 % moisture

9.90 tonnes/ha
at 25 % moisture

1.7 tonnes/ha
at 20% moisture

Cotton stalks bereft of boll rinds,
unopened bolls and small
branches after manual cleaning
(weight loss about 25%)

6.49 tonnes/ha
at 20 % moisture

1.5 tonnes/ha
at 15% moisture

Chipped cotton stalks
(loss during chipping
: about 10%)

5.50 tonnes/ha
at 15 % moisture

1.3 tonnes/ha
at 10% moisture

Chips transported to a
maximum distance of
about 50 km (loss during
loading, unloading and
transportation : 5%)

Nagpur,
Maharashtra
(Rainfed)

20

Cotton stalks uprooted
immediately after the completion
of last picking of seed cotton
(Contain grn leaves, boll Rinds
and upopened bolls)

CFC/ICAC/20

4.93 tonnes/ha
at 10 % moisture

Sirsa, Haryana
(Irrigated)

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

Logistics of Cotton Stalk Collection, Chipping & Transporation

Uprooting

Cleaning of stalks

Chipping with a tractor-driven chipper

Transportation of chips

FINAL REPORT

21

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

3.3

Compaction Trials

Different types of compacting machines including hand-operated, power operated and
hydraulic versions were fabricated at CIRCOT. Performance of the machines was tested by
compacting several tonnes of cotton stalk. Indicative results are shown in Table 7.
Table 7 : Compaction Data Using Different Machines
Time Required for
preparing one bale
(Minutes)

Bales prepared by 2
workers in 6 hours
(No.)

Bale weight
(kg)

Hand Operated

10

35

5

Electrically
Operated

5

75

8

Hand & Electrically
Operated

2

150

15

1.5

250

15

Name

Hydraulically
Operated

Compaction of Cotton Stalks

22

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

The data in Table 7 show that the four machines differ widely in their performance levels.
However, even the best among them namely the hydraulically operated machine could
compact only a maximum of 4 tonnes of cotton stalk in a 6-hour shift. Considering the slow
speed, manpower demand, energy requirement and the meagre compaction attainable, it
was concluded that compacting cotton stalks to facilitate transport to the chipping centre is
uneconomical. Compacting chipped stalks was not attempted as chips are afterall of low
specific volume and no advantage would accrue from this operation. It was thus decided
that stalks would be transported without compaction from collection centres to the place
where the chipping machine was installed.
3.4

Transportation Trials

Trials involving different modes of transportation were undertaken to transfer cotton stalk
from collection centres to GTC, Nagpur. Bullock carts were easily available in most of the
farms. Many farmers owned tractors with trolleys. Lorries used in the trials were taken on
hire. The trials indicated that bullock cart could accommodate much lower quantity of stalks
as compared to the other two modes of transport. The capacity of the bullock cart, tractortrolley and lorry are compared in Table 8.
Table 8 : Mode of Transport
Mode

Quantity (kg)

Bullock Cart

325

Tractor Trolley

575

Lorry

1500

For the trials conducted at Nagpur the transfer of cotton stalks from the farms/collection
centres to the chipping centre was accomplished by the following modes:
?
Bullock cart for distances within 3 kms;
?
Tractor-trolley for distances between 3 and 10 kms;
?
Lorry for distances above 10 km up to 50 kms.
The study, however, revealed that transporting cotton stalks over distances beyond 5 km is
uneconomical. It is, therefore, necessary to set up chipping centres at about 10 km from
one another such that transportation distance for stalks would not exceed 5 km.

FINAL REPORT

23

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Bullock cart transporting cotton stalks
3.5

Lorry transporting cotton stalks

Methodology of Chipping of Cotton Stalks and Transportation of Chipped
Material

3.5.1 Chipping Trials with Different Machines
Trials were undertaken on two types of power-operated chippers, namely, chaff cutter and
drum chipper. The quality of chips was assessed from the percentage of fractions
separated by the use of sieves of appropriate mesh sizes. Chips below 0.5 mm constitute
waste while those above 3.5 mm will demand rechipping. The data from the use of different
chippers are summarized in Tables 9, 10 & 11.
Table 9 : Chipping Trials by Using Chaff Cutter (Electrically Operated)
Sl.
No.
1

Moisture
Content
(%)

Below 0.5 mm
(%)

0.5-1.5 mm
(%)

1.5-3.5 mm
(%)

Above 3.5 mm
(oversize)
(%)

8-12

12

71

15

2

Table 10: Chipping Trials by Using Modified Chipper (Diesel Operated)
Sl.
No.

24

Moisture
Content
(%)

Below 0.5 mm
(%)

0.5-1.5 mm
(%)

1.5-3.5 mm
(%)

Above 3.5 mm
(oversize)
(%)

1

8-12

10

50

35

5

2

15-25

3

40

45

12

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

Table 11: Chipping Trials by Using Drum Chipper (Electrically Operated)
Sl.
No.
1

Moisture
Content
(%)

Below 0.5 mm
(%)

0.5-1.5 mm
(%)

1.5-3.5 mm
(%)

Above 3.5 mm
(oversize)
(%)

8-12

10

37

23

30

The chips obtained by using drum chipper as well as modified chipper were found to be
ideal for use in the board industry. However, non-availability of power in the villages
becomes a major hurdle in chipping stalks by using the electrically operated drum chipper.
Under the circumstances, the modified chipper operated with tractor or power tiller
appeared to be the most suitable arrangement for chipping cotton stalks. The trials have led
to the following conclusions:
?
Tractor-mounted mobile chippers are ideal for chipping cotton stalks.
?
Chipper run on 22 HP tractor could produce 7-8 tonnes of chipped stalk in a day of 8 h.
?
These chips could be directly loaded in a lorry or filled in bags and loaded in a lorry.
?
It is possible to transport about 6 tonnes of chips in one lorry.
In the first two seasons CIRCOT made its own arrangement for collection and
transportation of cotton stalks to the chipping centre and delivering the chipped material at
the factory. Later, the job was entrusted to NGO's. CIRCOT provided the chipper and
tractor to the NGO's.
3.5.2 Cost of Ready-to-use Cotton Stalk Chips
Using the large volume of data on collection, chipping and transportation of cotton stalks, it
has been possible to work out the economics of each of these operations. From this
analysis the cost of cotton stalk chips made available at the particle board factory has been
arrived at. Details are given in Tables 12 and 13. The raw material cost for particle board
manufacture from cotton stalk thus works out to Rs. 1960 (US $ 39.2) per tonne of the
ready-to-use material.
Table 12 : Cost of Collection and Chipping of Cotton Stalks
Operations

Cost per tonne
Rupees

US $

Uprooting and cleaning

500

10.0

Chipping

230

4.6

Tractor hiring

360

7.2

Total

1090

21.8

FINAL REPORT

25

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Table 13 : Total Cost of Ready-to-use Cotton Stalk Chips Delivered at
Factory Site
Operation
Labour charges for uprooting,
cleaning and chipping
Transportation charges
Loading and unloading charges
Raw material cost
Total

Cost per tonne
Rupees

US $

1090

21.8

320
50
500
1960

6.4
1.0
10.0
39.2

3.5.3 Transportation of Stalks and Chips
A critical study of the logistics of cotton stalk collection, chipping and transportation has
revealed the following facts :
?
Transporting chipped cotton stalk is more economical than transporting the
stalk as such.
?
It would be appropriate to employ bullock carts and tractor trolleys to carry
cotton stalk to the chipping centre and use lorries to deliver the chips at the
factory.
?
Transporting distance plays a major role in deciding the effective cost of the
raw material.
?
Fifty kilometres should be considered as the maximum permissible distance
for economic transportation of chipped material.
3.6

Storage Trials

In order to find out the shelf life of cotton stalks, a large quantity of the unchipped material
was stored in the open, on a stone platform. Similarly, two lots of chipped cotton stalks
packed in gunny bags were also stacked, one lot in the open and the other inside a godown.
Observations were made every month for colour and insect attack, and chemical analysis
was done once in a month to find out the changes if any in chemical composition (Table 14).
The following facts emerged from this trial :
?
Insect attack is rampant in unchipped stalks kept in shade or in the open.
?
No significant change in the chemical composition occurs in the case of chips
stored in godown.
?
Chipped stalks are not susceptible to insect attack.
?
A marginal reduction in holocellulose content is noticeable in chips stored in the
open.

26

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

Table 14 : Data from Chemical Analysis of Stored Cotton Stalk Chips
Sl. Month
No

Moisture
(%)

Lignin
(%)

A
B
A
B
1 July
14.2 16.0 26.6 25.4
2 August
14.0 15.9 26.1 25.0
3 September 12.0 11.9 26.0 24.8
4 October
11.2 12.9 25.9 24.5
5 November
11.8 11.4 25.8 24.2
6 December
11.1 11.2 25.5 24.1
7 January
11.3 11.4 25.2 24.1
8 February
11.3 11.4 25.5 24.7
9 March
11.2 11.4 25.5 24.6
10 April
11.0 11.1 25.6 24.5
11 May
10.1 11.5 25.3 24.7
12 June
13.2 14.1 25.2 24.4
A : Stored in shed; B : Stored in the open
3.7

Holo Cellulose
Ether
(%)
Extractives
(%)
A
B
A
B
82.1
77.1 7.1
7.2
81.4
76.4 7.0
7.1
81.2
75.7 7.0
7.2
81.1
75.4 6.5
6.8
80.9
75.2 6.8
7.1
80.7
75.2 6.7
6.5
80.5
75.1 6.7
6.8
81.1
75.0 6.5
6.3
80.9
74.7 6.9
4.5
80.5
75.1 6.6
6.4
80.4
74.9 6.5
6.4
81.0
74.8 6.4
6.3

Pesticide Residues in Cotton Stalk

Cotton is a long duration crop and hence it is necessary to apply a number of pesticides at
various stages of its cultivation. Broadly, the pesticides used on cotton can be divided into 3
classes : organochlorine, organophosphorous and synethtic pyrethroids. Pesticides with
long photostability alone were considered in the present study. Cotton stalk samples were
collected from the fields of Sirsa in Haryana State in northern India. Based on the history of
pesticide application prevalent in that area, chemicals such as endosulphan, quinol-phos,
monochrotophos, dimethoate, cypermethrine and effective synthetic pyrythroids were
selected for analysis.
Cotton stalk samples with and without the bark were pulverised and analysed for the
presence of the above pesticide residues. After standardization of the procedure for
extraction of the pesticides from cotton stalk adopting procedures based on AOAC
standards, the estimation was carried out by using a gas chromatograph fitted with ECD
and MS detector systems. The minimum detection level of the procedure was 1 PPB.
Interestingly the study did not reveal significant presence of any of the pesticides on the
cotton stalk analysed. Data in the following Table show negligible residue levels, all below 1
PPB. Hence, it can be safely claimed that the boards made from cotton stalks are free from
contamination by the above pesticides.

FINAL REPORT

27

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Pesticide Residues in Cotton Stalk
Sr. No.

3.8

Name of Pesticide

Amount of Pesticide (PPB)

1.

Endosulphan

0.8

2.

Quinolphos

0.5

3.

Monochrotophos

0.7

4.

Dimethoate

0.7

5.

Cypermethrine

0.6

A Model Cotton Stalk Supply Chain for a 20 TPD Particle Board Plant

It is known that for producing 1 tonne of boards, about 1.5 tonnes of chips are required.
Therefore, for running a 20 TPD particle board plant, 30 tonnes of chips would be required
each day. Our studies have shown that it is possible to get about 1.5 tonnes of ready-to-use
chips from one hectare land around Nagpur. Hence if a factory is to run only on cotton stalks
it is necessary to get the material from 6000 ha of farm land which will provide 9000 tonnes
of chips for board production in a 20 TPD plant working for 300 days in a year.
3.8.1 Storage
CIRCOT study has shown that cotton stalks are normally uprooted in Nagpur area when
the plant is almost dry (devoid of leaves). If such plants are uprooted and left in the field for
three days and manually cleaned to remove the boll rinds before being subjected to
chipping, the chipped material would be left with a moisture of around 12%. During
transportation to the factory, the percentage of moisture stabilizes at about 10%.
Considering that the chips have to be stored in the factory premises for at least one month,
about 900 tonnes are to be stacked in its premises and the rest to be stored in 9
decentralised places by groups of farmers (say in 9 villages connected well with transport
services).
3.8.2 Chipping Stations
It has been estimated that about ten chipping stations are required to be set up. Each
chipping station must be provided with one tractor-driven mobile chipper (outsourcing).
Each chipper has an output rate of about 500 kg/h and can provide about 3-4 tonnes per
day and in a month it is possible to generate about 90-120 tonnes of chips. Each chipping
station will have to store about 1000 tonnes of chips. These chips will be stored in three
stockpiles of 3 metres height and each pile is to be covered by polythene sheets to prevent
spoilage during rainy season. The stock piles will be adequately separated from one other
so as to facilitate loading of chips in trucks.

28

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 1

The bulk density of cotton stalk chips is about 0.14 g/cc. The average area occupied by a 32
metre high stockpile would be around 70 m . The space required in each chipping centre
would, therefore, be around ¼ of an acre.
Cotton Stalk Collection for Each Chipping Station
As said earlier, about 1000 tonnes of chips are to be generated and stored in each chipping
centre. For this, stalks must be collected from 600-700 hectares of land. Based on earlier
trials at CIRCOT, four labourers can uproot and collect stalks from one acre in a day. This
means, 10 persons are required to uproot the stalk available in 1 hectare. This also means
that 10 persons would get employment for one week, only for uprooting. The same number
of persons are required for cleaning the material as well. Chipping will employ four persons
daily for one month.
3.8.3 Supply of Cotton Stalk Chips
The chips will have to be transported to the factory under the direct supervision of the
factory itself to ensure that supply takes place at the required rate.

FINAL REPORT

29

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Conclusions : The study has led to the recommendation of the following model for cotton
stalk supply chain :
?
Under rainfed conditions about 1.3 tonnes of clean cotton stalk chips can be
obtained from 1 ha of cotton farm while in irrigated areas, the availability could be
as high as 5 tonnes.
?
For a 20 TPD cotton stalk particle board plant, the catchment area for raw material
collection will be about 6000 ha of cotton farms.
?
Cotton stalk obtained by uprooting with the aid of a simple mechanical device will
be transported from farms in bullock carts and tractor-trolleys to chipping centres
situated not more than 5 km from the farms.
?
Cotton stalk arriving at the chipping centre would be processed in a mobile chipper
mounted on a 22 HP tractor which will deliver 7-8 tonnes of chips in a shift of 8 h.
?
About 10 chipping centres will have to be set up to cater to the requirement of a 20
TPD particle board plant.
?
Chipped material would be hauled to the particle board factory situated within 50
km by lorries each of which would accommodate about 6 tonnes.
?
When stored for up to 1 year, cotton stalk in chipped form does not show any
deterioration in physical quality or chemical composition.
?
Cotton stalk chips are free from traces of pesticides used in cotton cultivation.
?
By selling cotton stalks to the board industry, the farmer can earn about Rs. 650
(US $ 13) per ha of rainfed cotton farm and about Rs. 2500 (US $ 50) per ha of
irrigated farm.

30

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 2

Chapter 4
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 2
Component 2 : Trials for minimum and optimum levels of cleaning and preprocessing of cotton stalks into chips suitable for processing, at
field level and at factory site
4.1

Cotton Stalk Cleaning System

It has been noted that boll rinds and adhering lint present in cotton stalk adversely affect the
quality of boards. It is, therefore, necessary to remove all the unwanted components before
chipping the stalks. Manually this is done by beating the uprooted or cut stalks gently
against a wooden mallet. This process is time consuming and labour-intensive. Hence, an
attempt was made under the project to design a cotton stalk cleaning system as an R & D
exercise.
The cleaning system specially designed for cotton stalks has the following components :
?
Scratching system (Peeler) : Comprises a system of rollers which separate cotton
bolls, boll rinds and small branches from the stalks.
?
Conveyor system : Transfers material from one stage to the next.
?
Air blowing chamber : Here unwanted materials like soil particles, leaves, cotton lint,
etc. are removed from the cotton stalk after it emerges from the scratching system.
?
Air suction chamber : Residual loose materials comprising leaf bits, fibres and dust
particles are sucked away by air, leaving the cotton stalk clean and ready for
chipping.

FINAL REPORT

31

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

It has been observed that 90% of the bolls and boll rinds are removed in the first unit itself
and about 5% are removed in the suction chamber. This means that the scratching system
could be directly connected to a chipper to economise the process. The results obtained on
cleaning of stalks are given in Table 15.
Table 15 : Performance Evaluation of Cotton Stalk Cleaning System*
Initial Weight
of Cotton Stalks
(Kg)

Weight of Stalks
after Passing through
the System (Kg)

100

77

*Performance is based on 5 trials.
2: Material collected at the air blowing chamber,

Weight of
Moisture Content of
Removed Material
Peeled Material
(Kg)
(%)
1
2
3
16.0
0.6
6.2
6.0
1: Material collected in the first unit (Peeler)
3:Material collected at the air suction chamber

Efforts were made to install the cleaning system in the field itself. However, due to the noncompatibility of the cleaning system with the mobile chipper it was not possible to use the
same in the field. Further, it was realized that non-availability of electricity in the fields would
be a major handicap in its use at field level. The cleaning system, therefore, is
recommended to be installed at the chipping centre.
4.2

Briquetting Trials for Cotton Stalk Wastes

The wastes generated during cotton stalk cleaning were chipped and reduced to about 10
mesh sieve. This material was processed in a briquetting machine for preparation of
briquettes. Preliminary trials undertaken at Sardar Patel Renewable Energy Research
Institute (SPRERI), Vallabh Vidyanagar, Gujarat indicated that it is possible to make
briquettes with a density of 1.1 to 1.2 g/cc without using any binder. Since the process was
0
carried out at 100 C, the lignin present in the material acted as a binder in getting briquettes
of good quality.
Conclusions
?
Cleaning system specially designed as part of the project work is found to be
eminently suitable for removing unwanted substances like bolls, rinds, leaves, soil,
fibres, etc. from cotton stalk and thus making it ready for chipping.
?
The cleaning system is to be installed at the chipping centre.
?
Wastes generated during cleaning of cotton stalks, after being reduced by chipping
to 10 mesh size, can be used for making briquettes, taking advantage of lignin
present in the material that acts as binder.

32

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 3

Chapter 5
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 3
Component 3: Pilot plant production of cotton stalks-based particle board
5.1

The Pilot Plant

The process for the preparation of particle boards from cotton plant stalks was developed
on a laboratory scale. The process comprises chipping of stalks, rechipping to suitable
mesh size, sieving to separate coarser and finer fractions, drying for moisture adjustment,
blending of material with resin and catalyst, mat formation (three layers), cold pressing and
further pressing between heated platens of a hydraulic press followed by edge cutting and
sanding. All these operations in the laboratory trials were done manually. The process
needed refinement on a pilot plant so as to confirm the technical feasibility.
The first task under the third component of the project was the setting up of a one-tonneper-day (1 TPD) pilot plant for preparation of particle boards. Accordingly a pilot plant of
indigenous design was procured and installed at the Ginning Training Centre of CIRCOT at
Nagpur (India). The layout of the pilot plant is shown in Fig. 5 while the process sequence is
illustrated in the flow-chart in Fig. 6. The pilot plant comprises an array of several machines :
?
Hammer Mill
?
Drum Chipper
?
Rechipper
?
Rotary Dryer
?
Glue Blender
?
Mat Former
?
Pre Press (cold)
?
Hydraulic Hot Press
?
Cutting Machine
?
Sanding Machine
The component machines except the last two are linked by conveyors that transfer the
material from one stage to the next till the boards are formed.

FINAL REPORT

33

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Fig. 5 : Layout of Particle Board Pilot Plant
Boiler Room
vey
Con

or

Grader

Overhead
Storage
Bin

Dozer

Conveyor
Trolley Track

Glue Blender

Unloading
Table

Mat Former
Co
nve
y

Overhead
Storage
or
Bin

Hydraulic
Press

Glue Blender

Dozer

Conveyor

Dryer
D.D. Saw

Pipe Line

Blower
Conveyor
Belt Sander

Re Chipper

Conveyor
Chipper

Pilot Plant at GTC Nagpur

34

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 3

Fig . 6 : Flow-chart of Particle Board Pilot Plant

Chipper

Cotton Stalk

Hammer Mill
Dryer

Over Size particle

Rotary Screen

Coarse

Fine
Resin, Wax, Hardener etc
Silo

Silo
Glue

Glue service
tank

Glue service
tank

Glue

Mat

Mat

Fine particle layer
Fine particle layer

Coarse particle
layer
Cold press

Carrier plate

Hot Press

Raw Board

5.2

Sanding M/c

Finished Board

Trimmed Board

Cut to size saw

Trials in Board Making on the Pilot Plant

After commissioning of the plant, various trials were undertaken for standardizing the
process parameters like concentration of resin, temperature, pressing time, etc., to get
good quality particle boards from cotton stalks on the automatic pilot plant which is very
similar to commercial plants. The details of various standardization trials undertaken on the
pilot plant are given in Table 16 while the properties of particle boards prepared under
optimized conditions are gathered in Table 17. The data in Table 17 clearly show that
particle boards from cotton stalks meet the BIS specifications in respect of quality.

FINAL REPORT

35

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Table 16 : Standardization Trials (18 mm Particle Boards ) Using Pilot Plant
Sl.
No.

Core
(%)

Face
(%)

Resin
(Solid
Basis)
(%)

Wax (Solid
basis)
(%)

Pressing
time

1

60-70

30-40

1.0-1.2

2

60-70

30-40

3

60-70

30-40

3 min
at high
Pressure
(200 kg/cm2) +
8 min at Low
Pressure
(100 kg/cm2)

4

50-60

40-50

UF resin
(8-10)
UF resin
(7-8)
UF resin
(6-6.5)
+ Malamine
(1-1.5)
UF resin
(7-8)

0.8-1.0
0.8-1.0

Temperature
(0C)

130 -140

1.0-1.2

UF : Urea formaldehyde
Table 17 : Properties of Particle Board Made on Pilot Plant Using Optimised
Conditions
Parameters

Urea Formaldehyde
Bonded Cotton Stalk
Boards

BIS Specification

Thickness (mm)

18

-

Density (kg/m3)

671

500-900

Modulus of Rupture
(N/mm2)

14.6

11.0

Internal Bond Strength
(N/mm2)

0.6

0.3

Screw /Nail Withdrawal
(Face Newton)

2118

1250

28

40

31

80

3

9

Water Absorption (%)
2h
24 h
Surface Absorption (%)

36

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 3

5.3

Material Balance

After optimizing the process parameters on the pilot plant, regular production trials were
undertaken and boards of various thicknesses, densities, etc. were made. On the basis of
these production trials and the systematic data thus collected, a material balance for
preparation of particle board from cotton stalks was worked out, as shown in the following
chart.
Material Balance for the Preparation of Particle Boards from Cotton Plant Stalks
Cotton Stalk chips (10 % moisture) (1 tonne)
5 % Material loss
Rechipped Material (950 kg), 10% moisture
7 % loss
Dried Material (884 kg), 3 % moisture
8 % material loss
Particle Separation Loss (813 kg), 3 % moisture
Resin + Wax Addition
Finish Material (959 kg), 12 % moisture
5 % material loss
Mat Formation (911 kg)
6 % loss
Pressing of Board (856 kg), 6 % moisture
Trimming & Sanding loss 20 %

Finished Boards (685 kg), 6 % moisture

The most significant facts that emerge from the chart are the following :
?
One tonne of cleaned cotton stalk chips with 10% moisture yields 0.7 tonne of plain
boards with 6% moisture.
?
To prepare 1 tonne of plain boards with 6% moisture, about 1.4 tonnes of cleaned
cotton stalk chips with 10% moisture are required.

FINAL REPORT

37

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Particle boards produced on pilot plant
5.4

R & D Trials on the Pilot Plant

5.4.1 Blending with Mulberry Stalks and Bagasse
Besides regular production trials, R & D activity was also undertaken on the pilot plant. An
attempt was made to study the blending characteristics of cotton stalks with other raw
materials. Trials were undertaken to blend cotton stalks in various proportions with
bagasse and mulberry stalks. Details of the trials and properties of the blended boards are
given in the following Tables 18,19, 20 & 21.
Table 18 : Water Absorption and Thickness Swelling of Blended Particle Boards
(Mulberry : Cotton Stalk)
Raw material Composition
(%)
Mulberry

38

Water Absorption
(%)

Thickness Swelling
(% )

Cotton stalk

( 2 h)

( 24 h)

(2 h)

100

0

35.1

68.2

8.3

67

33

36.1

69.2

8.6

50

50

36.8

70.2

9.1

33

67

37.3

71.5

9.5

0

100

38.2

72.6

9.9

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 3

Table 19 : Mechanical Properties of Blended Particle Boards
(Mulberry : Cotton Stalk)
Raw Material
Composition (%)
Mulberry Cotton stalk
100
0
67
33
50
50
33
67
0
100
BIS

Modulus of
rupture
2
(N/mm )
14.5
12.8
11.1
12.0
11.1
11.0

Screw withdrawal
Strength
(N)
1360
1330
1325
1325
1260
1250

Internal bond
strength
2
(N/mm )
0.31
0.31
0.32
0.32
0.32
0.30

Table 20 : Water Absorption and Thickness Swelling of Blended Particle Boards
(Bagasse : Cotton Stalks)
Raw material
(%)
Bagasse
Cotton stalk
100
0
67
33
50
50
33
67
0
100

Water Absorption
(%)
(2 h)
(24 h)
36
73
37
77
38
77
39
76
41
78

Thickness
Swelling (% )
(2 h)
8.3
8.7
9.3
9.3
10.1

Table 21 : Mechanical Properties of Blended Particle Boards
(Bagasse : Cotton Stalks)
Raw Material
Composition
(%)
Bagasse Cotton stalk
100
0
67
33
50
50
33
67
0
100

Modulus of
rupture
(N/mm2)

Screw withdrawal
Strength
(N)

Internal bond
strength
(N/mm2)

16.9
15.0
15.4
12.7
12.7

1342
1325
1324
1326
1325

0.34
0.34
0.31
0.31
0.31

As could be seen from the properties of boards, cotton stalk blends well with other raw
materials like bagasse and mulberry stalks. There was no significant change in the
properties of boards when blended in different proportions. The blended boards were of
good quality indicating that such materials can be used in combination with cotton stalks.
FINAL REPORT

39

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

5.4.2 Melamine-coated Coloured Particle Boards :
Melamine-coated boards were produced in different shades using dyes (smoke gray, pink,
black, etc.). Normally 0.5 to 0.75 kg melamine resin solution (25 to 30 % solids) is required
to coat one board of 3' x 4' size. It was dried for 24 hours and then pressed in hot press at
2
100 kg/cm pressure for 8 min. These boards can be used as low cost furniture items.
5.4.3 Filler Boards from Cotton Stalks :
Trials were conducted to prepare 25 mm filler boards with 100 % cotton stalks keeping the
board density as low as 500 kg/m3. These boards are mainly used by door making industry
for preparing panels with decorative surfaces.
5.4.4 Particle Boards Using Chitosan as Binder
Preliminary studies were undertaken on the preparation of boards using chitosan as
binding material. Chitosan (deacetylated product of chitin, an n-acetyl glucosamine
polymer) was dissolved in 1% acetic acid and ten percent of this gel was used as binder to
prepare boards. Boards were also prepared using lignin as binder. These boards can find
application as false ceiling material. Process details are given in Table 22 and the
properties of the boards are shown in Table 23.
Table 22 : Standardization Trials for 18 mm Particle Boards Using Lignin and
Chitosan
Sl.
No.

Core
(%)

Face
(%)

Resin
(Solid
Basis)
(%)

Wax (Solid
basis)
(%)

Pressing
time

1

60-70

30-40

Lignin
(10-15)

0.8-1.0

3 min at
high Pressure
2
(200 kg/cm ) +
8 min at
low Pressure
2
(100 kg/cm )

2

50-60

40-50

Chitosan
(0.07-0.08)

1.0-1.2

Temperature
0
( C)

120 -125

Table 23 : Properties of Boards
Properties

40

Lignin Bonded

Chitosan Bonded

Thickness (mm)

18.5

18.8

Modulus of Rupture (N/mm2)

12.2

12

Water Absorption (%) 2 hrs

35

38

Water Absorption (%) 24 hrs

75

79

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 3

5.4.5 Resin-coated Boards
For preparation of resin-coated boards, melamine resin (45 -50 % solid basis) was sprayed
2
on both surfaces of the boards. About 4 to 5 grams of resin (on solid basis)/ ft was used to
coat the boards.
Resin used for board
2
coating on solid basis (g/ft )
4 to 5

Seasoning
Time (h)
48

Pressing
time (Min)
5

Temperature
0
( C)
115-120

5.4.6 Impregnated Paper Laminated Boards:
Decorative paper coated with melamine resin was used as lamination for cotton stalk
particle board. The laminated boards were of good quality indicating that the particle
boards prepared in pilot plant are suitable for lamination.
5.5

Commercial Trials

CIRCOT's particle board technology subjected to refinement on the pilot plant was tried on
an industrial scale in large board manufacturing units. In the first instance, about 30 tonnes
of ready-to-use cotton stalk chips were supplied to M/s Ecoboard Industries Ltd. at Velapur
near Pandharpur in central India followed by a second lot of 50 tonnes. The chips were
delivered from Nagpur, and boards of 13.5' x 6' size were prepared with different
thicknesses (9 mm, 12 mm & 18 mm) and surface finishes. Laminated boards thus
manufactured were used for making different furniture items and also for panelling some
rooms in CIRCOT, Mumbai, GTC of CIRCOT, Nagpur, DOCD, Mumbai and ICAR
Headquarters, New Delhi. Tests results shown in Table 24 indicate that it is possible to
prepare good quality boards in the existing industry without any modification.
Table 24 : Properties of Cotton Stalk Boards Made in Industrial Trials
Properties

Interior Grade Boards
12 mm
18 mm

Density (kg/m3)
2

Modulus of Rupure (N/mm )
2

Tensile Strength (N/mm )
Water Absorption (%) 2 hours
Water Absorption (%) 24 hours
Screw Withdrawal (N)Face

BIS Specification

713.1

699

500-900

15.4

12.0

11.0

0.9
20.4
42.2
1762

0.5
56
95
1610

0.3
40
80
1250

Cotton stalk chips prepared at Coimbatore were supplied to M/s Archid Ply Industries Ltd.,
Mysore for a one-shift 10-tonne trial. Good quality boards could be prepared with 9 mm,

FINAL REPORT

41

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

12 mm and 18 mm thicknesses and with different surface finishes. The boards were sold in
the market.
Regular trials were also undertaken in Godavari Particle Board Industries Ltd., Nanded
during 2009 for about two months. This smaller capacity plant consumed about 500 tonnes
of cotton stalks. The plant prepared blended boards of cotton stalks with bagasse and also
a dedicated product namely, photoframes.
Conclusions :
?
Pilot plant specially designed for making particle boards incorporating all the
features of a commercial plant, has been found suitable for refining and fine-tuning
CIRCOT technology initially developed on a laboratory scale.
?
Particle boards made under optimal resin concentration, curing temperature,
pressure and pressing time identified through pilot plant trials will meet BIS
specification in respect of all parameters relating to strength and moisture
absorption.
?
The CIRCOT technology, after its refinement through pilot plant trials is usable in
commercial practice without any further modifications, as indeed shown by largescale production trials conducted in three existing particle board factories in India.
?
Cotton stalk is found to blend well with bagasse and mulberry stalk to produce
particle boards of standard quality characteristics.

42

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 4

Chapter 6
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 4
Component 4 : Utilisation of cotton stalks for the production of binderless boards
6.1

Binderless Boards (Hardboards) from Cotton Stalk

6.1.1 Standardisation of Process Conditions
The process of preparation of binderless boards comprises chipping of stalks and
preparation of thermo-mechanical pulp followed by pressing in a steam-heated hydraulic
press. Standardisation of the process parameters was done through a series of laboratory
trials.
In the method thus standardised, cotton stalk chips are steamed under a pressure of 15
2
kg/cm for 2 min in a thermo-mechanical pulper. Mat formation and pressing of the mat
between heated platens of a hydraulic press would follow.
A 3-step pressure cycle is employed. During the first step, dewatering of the mat occurs at a
0
2
temperature of 160 C and a pressure of 200 kg/cm for a duration of 1 min. The pressure is
2
reduced to 50 kg/cm in the second step to permit release of trapped steam for 30 seconds.
In the third and final step, the pressure is raised again (to 100 kg/cm2)and maintained at that
level for a few minutes with the temperature retained at 1600C to complete the formation of
the hardboard.
Standardisation test data are shown in Table 25 while properties of hardboard thus formed
are given in Tables 26 & 27.
Table 25 : Standardisation of Pressure Cycle for Hardboard Preparation
Pressure Cycle

Trial
I

II

III

200 kg/cm2

1 min.

1 min.

1 min.

50 kg/cm2

0.5 min.

0.5 min.

0.5 min.

100 kg/cm2

3 min.

4 min.

5 min.

FINAL REPORT

43

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Table 26 : Properties of Hardboards
Properties

Trial

Thickness (cm)
3

Density (Kg/m )
2

MOR (N/mm )
Yield (%)

I

II

III

0.32

0.30

0.27

810

920

970

15.9

47.4

52.0

82

80

82.5

Trials I, II & III relate to pressure cycles in Table 28
Table 27 : Effect of surface Finishing Treatment on Hardboard
Property

BIS

Control

Oil Tempered

Thermal

Thickness (mm)

3.8

4.0

4.0

4.1

Density (kg/m3)

800-1200

920

930

920

MOR (N/mm )

30

34.6

41.8

38.7

Water Absorption (%)

40

50

25

35

2

6.1.2 Large Scale Trial for Binderless Boards
Employing the standardised values of process parameters arrived at as discussed above,
a large-scale trial was conducted at M/s Jolly Board Ltd., Sangli using about 20 tonnes of
cotton stalk chips. Good quality binderless boards were prepared from 100% cotton stalks.
Trials were also undertaken with blends of cotton stalk pulp with bagasse pulp to prepare
boards. Good quality boards could be made with the pulp blended in the ratio 1:1.
The above trial clearly showed that the process of preparing binderless boards from cotton
stalks was technically feasible on a commercial plant. There were no difficulties
encountered in the commercial plant except for the fact that the feeding funnel used to get
clogged due to presence of bark in cotton stalk. A slight modification was, therefore, made
in the feeding mechanism. Properties of boards thus made are gathered in Table 28. In
mechanical strength, the board more than meets the BIS norm. Water absorption is slightly
higher. This is so because of the presence of bark covering the cotton stalk.

44

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 4

Table 28 : Properties of Binderless Boards (Large Scale Trial)

Raw Material

Thickness
(mm)

Density
3
(Kg/m )

Cotton 100 %
Cotton 50% +
Bagasse 50 %

2.6
2.5

947
950

Modulus of Rupture
2
(N/mm )
Trial
BIS
Board
Specification
59.2
30
49.6
30

Water Absorption
(%)
Trial
BIS
Board Specification
50
40
54
40

6.1.3 Use of Cotton Stalk in the Preparation of Soft Board
Thermo-mechanical pulp from bagasse and wood pulp are generally used together in the
preparation of soft boards. Since cotton stalk produces good quality thermo-mechanical
pulp, it was decided to use it in the preparation of soft boards. Trials were undertaken at M/s
Jolly Board Ltd., Aurangabad where thermo-mechanical pulp of cotton stalk was blended
with bagasse pulp in 20:80 ratio and soft boards of 11 mm, 16 mm and 25 mm thicknesses
were made. The boards were of good quality as evidenced by the MOR value of 22 kg/cm2
which was better than that of 100% bagasse boards (18 kg/cm2). The study indicated that
depending upon the requirement of MOR, cotton stalks could be blended with bagasse to
produce soft boards of desired quality. These boards find application as insulating material.
6.1.4 Blending of Cotton Stalk with Hardwood for Hardboard Preparation
M/s Western India Plywood Ltd., Kannanur, Kerala are using a mix of hardwoods for the
manufacture of hardboards. Since cotton stalk is structurally similar to hardwood, it was
decided to blend cotton stalk with hardwood. Accordingly, a trial was conducted at M/s
Western India Plywood Ltd., where about 10% of cotton stalk was blended with 90%
hardwood. Cotton stalk was found to blend well with hardwood. Good quality boards with
properties similar to those of 100% hardwood boards could be prepared from the blended
pulp. No technical problems were encountered in the processing of blended pulp. It is thus
concluded that cotton stalk can be mixed with hardwood for preparation of binderless
boards without any adverse effect on the quality.
6.1.5 Overview of Cotton Stalk Hardboards
The use of cotton stalk in hardboard manufacture is technically feasible, as indeed shown
by laboratory trials and large scale trials. The existing plants manufacturing hardboards
from bagasse and hardwood can be easily adopted to use the new raw material. However,
since the capacity of the plants is generally very large, CIRCOT does not recommend
dedicated plants working exclusively on cotton stalk. On the other hand existing industries
should use cotton stalk as an additional raw material to be blended with hardwood and
bagasse.

FINAL REPORT

45

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Conclusions
?
CIRCOT technology for pulping cotton stalk chips and making binderless boards
0
employing a 3-step pressure cycle at 160 C temperature can be used in
commercial production without any modifications as shown by large scale trials.
The boards thus made will have quality meeting BIS specifications when used
alone as well as when blended with bagasse pulp in 50-50 ratio.
?
Cotton stalk pulp blended with hardwood pulp in the ratio 1:9 can give
hardboards of very good quality.
?
Existing plants manufacturing hardboards from hardwood and bagasse can use
cotton stalk as an additional raw material.

46

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 5

Chapter 7
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 5
Component 5 : Evaluation of technical/financial feasibility of the proposed
processes
7.1

Techno-economic Feasibility of Particle Board Plants

The technical feasibility of particle board manufacture from cotton stalk was examined on
the basis of industrial trials conducted at M/s Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune and Archid Ply
Industries Ltd., Mysore. In both the industries, the trials were successful and good quality
boards suitable for lamination were manufactured. No technical problems were
encountered during the processing and no changes or modifications in the existing plant
were found necessary.
For an examination of the economic viability of cotton stalk as raw material for particle
board manufacture, a 30-tonne trial was undertaken at M/s Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune
having installed capacity of 200 tonnes/day but running at 60% capacity utilization. In this
trial boards of 9 mm, 12 mm and 18 mm were prepared. The data in Table below would
substantiate the fact that particle board production from cotton stalks in an established
board manufacturing unit is indeed an economically viable proposition that would ensure a
profitability of about 25%.
Thickness

7.2

Density
(g/cc)

Production cost
per sq. ft

Selling Price
per sq. ft.

Rs.

US $

Rs.

US $

Profitability
%

9 mm

0.73

13.94

0.28

17.1

0.34

22. 7

12 mm

0.72

15.00

0.30

18.63

0.37

24.2

18 mm

0.72

19.25

0.38

24.53

0.49

27.4

Cost Estimation for a Particle Board Plant of 10 TPD Capacity

On the basis of extensive information gathered from wide ranging R & D efforts under the
project, it has been possible to work out the profitability of particle board plants. For a 10
TPD plant the capital investment comprising land, buildings and plant & machinery will
work out to over Rs. 58 million (US $ 1.16 million) while the production cost after duly
considering depreciation, interest on investment etc would be around Rs. 38.76 million (US
$ 0.78 million). The cost of production per tonne of particle board would be about Rs.
12,920 (US $ 258). At current selling price levels for particle boards, the return on
investment will work out to about 19%. Details are given below in tabular form.

FINAL REPORT

47

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Production Highlights :
Production capacity
Raw material used
No. of days of production in a year
No. of shifts per day
Total production in a year

:
:
:
:
:

10 TPD (384 boards of 8'x4'x12 mm),
15 TPD of cleaned chips/day
300
3
3000 tonnes

Project Cost and Production cost in case of a 10 TPD Plant
A
1.

2.
3.

B
1.
2.
3.
(I)
(II)
(III)

Capital Investment
Land & Building
Land : about 1 hectare
Building : (Area : About 10,000 sq.ft.,
raw material storage)
Plant and Equipment
Auxiliary and service Equipments,
Margin money for working capital
Total Project Cost
Cost of Production
Raw Material & Utility
Labour & Supervision
Repairs , Maintenance & Overheads
Total Manufacturing Cost
General Expenses
Depreciation & Interest
Total cost of production B (I+II+III)
Cost of production per tonne of board

Rs. (Million)

US $

2.50
4.50

50000
90000

42.20
90.00

844000
180000

58.20

1164000

20.50
3.51
2.80
26.81
1.75
10.20
38.76
Rs.12,920

410000
70200
56000
536200
35000
204000
775200
258

Profitability of a 10 TPD Particle Board Plant

1.
2.
3.
4.

Gross Annual Income
Annual Cost of Production
Annual Return (2-3)
Return on Investment (ROI)

Rs. (Million)
49.77
38.76
11.01
19%

US $
995400
775200
220200
19%

* Selling price per unit (8'x4'x12 mm) @ Rs. 13.5 per sq. ft. = Rs. 432.00 (US $ 8.64)

48

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 5

7.3

Cost Estimation for a Particle Board Plant of 20 TPD Capacity

A similar exercise has been done in respect of a 20 TPD plant for which the capital
investment including cost of land, buildings and plant & machinery works out to over Rs. 75
million (US $ 1.50 million). The production cost, after taking into consideration
depreciation, interest on investment etc., works out to about Rs. 74.60 million (US $ 1.49
million). The production cost per tone of particle board would be about Rs. 12430 (US $
249). The return on investment would be about 33.5% which is significantly higher than for
a 10 TPD plant. Details are shown in tabular form.

Production Highlights :
Production capacity
Raw material used
No. of days of production in a year
No. of shifts per day
Total production in a year

:
:
:
:
:

20 TPD (770 boards of 8'x4'x12 mm)
29 TPD of cleaned chips/day
300
3
6000 tonnes

Project Cost and Production cost in case of a 20 TPD Plant
A
1.

2.
3.
4.

B
1.
2.
3.
4.
(I)
(II)
(III)

Capital Investment
Rs. (Million)
Land & Building
Land : about 1 hectare
2.50
Building : 25,000 sq.ft.
9.05
Plant and Equipment
50.00
Auxiliary and service Equipment
2.50
Margin money for working capital,
11.17
pre-operative expenses, contingency etc.
Total Project Cost
75.22
Cost of Production (80% capacity utilization)
Raw Material & Utility
41.50
Labour & Supervision
5.50
Repairs & Maintenance
2.70
Plant overheads
1.00
Total Manufacturing Cost
50.70
General Expenses
3.10
Depreciation & Interest
20.80
Total cost of production B (I+II+III)
74.60
Cost of production per tonne board
Rs. 12430

US $
50000
181000
1000000
50000
223400
1504400
830000
110000
54000
20000
1014000
62000
416000
1492000
249

FINAL REPORT

49

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Profitability of a 20 TPD Particle Board Plant
1.
2.
3.
4.

Gross Annual Income
Annual Cost of Production
Annual Return (2-3)
Return on Investment (ROI)

Rs. (Million)
99.79
74.60
25.19
33.5%

US $
1995800
1492000
503800
33.5%

* Selling price per unit (8'x4'x12 mm) @ Rs. 13.5 per sq. ft. : Rs. 432.00 (US $ 8.64)

7.4

Conclusions from the Techno-economic Study

«
Existing particle board plants manufacturing boards from hardwood, bagasse,

etc. can use cotton stalk as an alternative raw material that would ensure a
profitability of about 25%.
?
A particle board plant with an installed capacity of 10 tonnes per day and involving

a capital investment of about Rs. 58 million (US $ 1.16 million) can ensure a
profitability of about 20% with cotton stalk alone used as the raw material.
?
A plant with a higher capacity of 20 TPD can bring higher returns of up to 33%.
?
For sustainable supply of raw material, an agency should be identified for

organizing collection and chipping of cotton stalks and delivering the chips at the
particle board factory.

50

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 6

Chapter 8
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 6
Component 6 : Dissemination of Project Results at National and International
Level
8.1

Importance of Publicity

Publicity is vital for the successful transfer of a new technology particularly when it employs
an unconventional raw material like cotton stalk. Entrepreneurs including those already
engaged in particle board manufacture using materials other than cotton stalk need to be
convinced of the technical soundness of the new technology and its commercial viability.
Equally important is the task of sensitizing farmers on the additional income they could earn
by organizing collection of cotton stalk from extensive farms and delivering them at rural
chipping centres. The feasibility and economics of cotton stalk collection and chipping are
critical factors that would determine the competitiveness of this raw material vis-à-vis
bagasse which is being extensively used in particle board industry and which is available in
large quantities even from a single sugar factory . Publicity was, therefore, considered as
an important tool in the transfer of CIRCOT technologies involving cotton stalk.
Scientists of CIRCOT participated in national and international seminars and presented
papers summarizing the project findings. Considerable efforts were made through
awareness meetings to sensitize farmers and entrepreneurs on the advantages of using
cotton stalks for the manufacture of composite boards. Culmination of activity under this
component was the holding of an International Workshop in November, 2009 an exclusive
report on which will soon follow. An outline of other publicity-oriented activities is furnished
below.
8.2

Awareness Meetings and National & International Seminars

A number of awareness meetings were organized in major cotton growing areas of the
country such as Nagpur, Coimbatore, Guntur, Dharwad, Sirsa, Ludhiana, Surat and
Ahmedabad in order to highlight the potential uses of cotton stalks in industrial applications.
As compared to our experience in 2004, the mindset of farmers seemed to have changed
by the year 2009. Many of them now appeared to be more receptive. Farmers in the Nagpur
area of Maharashtra and the Surendranagar area of Gujarat came forward to take up the
job of supplying ready-to-use chips to board industries. An NGO in Nanded in Maharashtra
supplied about 500 tonnes of cotton stalk chips to M/s. Godavari Particle Board Industries
Ltd. and were ready to deliver about 1500 tonnes during 2010. Similarly in 2009 another
NGO from Jaipur village in Maharashtra undertook the job of supplying cotton stalk chips
following the model developed by CIRCOT. This NGO provided about 30 tonnes of the

FINAL REPORT

51

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

material to GTC, Nagpur for trials on the pilot plant. Individual farmers could earn about Rs.
500 (US $ 10) per tonne of stalks. NGOs also could make a profit of about Rs. 200 (US $ 4)
per tonne of chips. This exercise could generate sizable rural employment too.
Important project results were presented in several national and international fora.
Considerable efforts were made through awareness meetings to sensitize farmers and
entrepreneurs on the advantages of using cotton stalks for the manufacture of composite
boards. Given below is a list of meetings attended by CIRCOT scientists as a part of activity
under Component 6.
th

?
A report on the progress of the project was presented at the 65 Plenary Meeting of
the ICAC held at Goiania Brazil from 10th to 15th of September, 2006 attended by Dr.
S. Sreenivasan, Dr. R. H. Balasubramanya and Dr. A. J. Shaikh. The report
discussed the technologies developed at CIRCOT and outlined the important
findings under different activity components of the project.
?
An awareness Meeting for sensitizing farmers on the possibility of using cotton
stalks for various applications was conducted at Sirsa in Haryana State in northern
India on 23.11.2006. At this meeting, mainly attended by farmers, the importance of
cotton stalks as a raw material for particle board making was highlighted. The
farmers at Sirsa were getting just Rs. 300-400 per tonne (US $ 6.0-8.0) for the stalks
if the material was delivered to a briquetting factory. It was brought to the notice of
the farmers that they could earn as much as Rs. 500 (US $ 10) per tonne for the
stalks and up to Rs. 2000 (Us $ 40) per tonne of cleaned chips at factory gate
situated not farther than 50 km from production site if stalks could be used for
particle board manufacture. Alternative uses were also highlighted.
?
At Deoli, about 100 km from Nagpur, an Awareness Meeting was conducted by
CIRCOT on 12.12.2006. Varied uses of cotton stalks and their potential to raise farm
income were highlighted in this meeting.
?
For the benefit of farmers from Bharuch in Gujarat State, an Awareness Meeting was
arranged on 29.03.2007. The meeting underscored the commercial importance of
cotton stalk and the additional income farmers can earn by selling stalks or chips to
the board industry.
?
An Awareness Meeting to demonstrate the functioning of the pilot plant for making
particle boards was organized at GTC, Nagpur on 28.04.2007 for the benefit of
entrepreneurs many of whom had responded to the invitation.
?
In a Seminar on Cotton Production and Value Addition held on 05.09.2007 at Mahua
in Gujarat State, a paper was presented by Dr. S. Sreenivasan, and Dr. K. M.
Paralikar highlighting the economic, social and environmental benefits expected
from particle board manufacture from cotton stalks.
?
Project findings were discussed by Dr. P. G. Patil at the World Cotton Research
Conference -4 at Lubbock, USA from September 14th to 17th, 2007.
?
National Level Trainers' Training Programme on Cotton By-product Utilization was
th
th
organized at Nagpur on 28 and 29 of September, 2007 by the Directorate of Cotton

52

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 6

Development, Mumbai. About 20 officials from the Govt. of Maharastra, Andhra
Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh connected with technology transfer
schemes of the Govt. of India participated in the 2-day programme. The participants
were urged to take special interest in convincing farmers about the additional
income they can earn from selling cotton stalks to board industry.
st

?
In an International Workshop on Ecoco-boards held at Manila, Phillipines from 1 to
rd
3 of October, 2007 CIRCOT Scientists Dr. K. M. Paralikar and Mr. R. M. Gurjar
presented a paper on the technologies for board manufacture from cotton stalks,
highlighting the benefits that can be derived by the industry and the farming
community.
?
An awareness programme was organized by CIRCOT at Sirsa in Haryana State on
22.11.2007 coinciding with the visit to this place by the Mid-term Evaluation Team
headed by Mr. Sanjeev Vasudev. Harvesting, collection of cotton stalks,
transportation and chipping were demonstrated by CIRCOT scientists Dr. R. H.
Balasubramanya and Mr. R. M. Gurjar to about 50 participating farmers.
?
Almost at the same time another awareness programme was organized at Umri
Wagh near Nagpur on 24-11-2007 in which about 75 farmers participated. The
importance of cotton stalks as an industrial raw material was highlighted by the
CIRCOT team comprising Dr. R. H. Balasubramanya, Dr. P. V. Varadarajan, Dr. A. J.
Shaikh and Dr. P. G. Patil. The farmers expressed their desire that a chipper be
provided in the beginning to kick-start the process.
?
In the State of Andhra Pradesh, an awareness programme was held on 23.02.2008.
Dr. R. H. Balasubramanya, Dr. A. J. Shaikh and Mr. R. M. Gurjar of CIRCOT as well
as a representative from the Cotton Association of India participated in the
programme. The potential of cotton stalks to fetch additional income for the farmer
was highlighted. About 30 local farmers attended the programme.
?
A workshop for demonstrating the chipping of cotton stalk for use in board
manufacture was organized by CIRCOT on 18.03.2008 at Jaipur village near
Nagpur. About 60 farmers participated in this programme.
?
In an awareness meeting organized by CIRCOT at Vadapudur village near
Coimbatore in southern India on 26th September, 2008, about 100 farmers had
participated.
?
The achievements of the project under different activity components were
highlighted in a paper presented by Dr. A. J. Shaikh at the 68th Plenary Meeting of the
ICAC at Cape Town in South Africa from 8th to 11th September, 2009.
8.3

International Workshop on Utilization of Cotton Plant By-produce for Value
Added products

This workshop was organized during the period 9th - 11th November, 2009 by CIRCOT in
collaboration with CFC and ICAC. Attended by over 200 delegates (20 from outside India),
the workshop held at Nagpur was primarily intended to showcase the findings of the
CFC/ICAC project at its closing time. Detailed accounts of activities undertaken and the
achievements made under different components of the project were presented by CIRCOT
FINAL REPORT

53

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

scientists. The workshop served as a forum for sharing the knowledge generated through
the project with scientists from other cotton growing countries particularly from Africa where
the utilization of cotton stalk for board manufacture could create significant economic
impact. The workshop also saw presentation of papers dealing with board preparation from
other crop residues as well as alternative uses of residues in briquetting, gas production
etc., all of which would promote environment preservation and economic wellbeing of the
rural poor. Highlights of the workshop are furnished in Annexure I.

54

CFC/ICAC/20

Discussions of Project findings under
Component 7

Chapter 9
Discussion of Project Findings under Component 7
Component 7 : Project Management, Monitoring, Supervision and Evaluation
9.1

Project Co-ordination Committee

The design of the project had foreseen the establishment of a Project Co-ordination
Committee (PCC) that would provide guidance to PEA regarding the direction that the
project activities should take from time to time. The PCC, constituted as it was by the PEA,
held periodic meetings to review the progress of work under different activity components
and offer comments and advice. Interim findings of the project were presented at each
meeting and appropriate corrective measures were undertaken in accordance with the
directions given the PCC.
With Director of CIRCOT as the Chairman, the PCC had 10 members drawn from R & D
institutes, private organizations and board industries (see Annexure II). Given below is the
schedule of PCC meetings in which representatives from CFC and ICAC were also present
on a few occasions.
Sl. No. Designation

9.2

Date

Venue

1

First Review Meeting

30.06.2005

GTC, Nagpur

2

Second Review Meeting

10.01.2006

CIRCOT, Mumbai

3

Third Review Meeting

25.05.2007

GTC, Nagpur

4

Fourth Review Meeting

30.08.2008

CIRCOT, Mumbai

5

Fifth Review Meeting

12.06.2009

CIRCOT, Mumbai

ICAR Review Team for Foreign Funded Projects

ICAR, New Delhi has a Review Team to monitor the progress of Foreign Aided Projects.
The meetings are chaired by DDG (Engg.). Representatives from Director (Finance) and
Director (DARE) are the members. The progress reports were presented by Director,
CIRCOT/PI. As many as nine meetings were held. The financial aspects including fund
utilization were discussed and suggestions, whenever made, were duly implemented.
9.3

Monitoring at Institute Level

The results of the project were regularly presented in the Institute Research Council (IRC)
with Director as Chairman and in the Research Advisory Committee (RAC) meetings
chaired by an eminent scientist from outside CIRCOT with other members nominated by
ICAR. Two members representing farming community as Agriculture Minister's nominee
also participated in the RAC meetings. A total of 10 IRC meetings and 5 RAC meetings
were held during the period.

FINAL REPORT

55

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

9.4

Evaluation by Mid-term Review Team

A mid-term review was also undertaken by an external independent team of consultants
contracted for that task by CFC, Netherlands. Highlights of its recommendations are given
in Annexure III. Based on the Team's suggestions, the cotton stalk supply chain was
revisited by appointing an NGO to undertake the work of organizing the supply of ready-touse chips to board industries. Efforts made in this direction yielded fruitful results. This has
been found to be the most crucial link in the implementation of the project on the utilization
of cotton stalks as a raw material for board industries.
The Mid-term Review Team had also suggested that a fresh market survey be undertaken.
The task was accordingly entrusted to M/s Mott Macdonald in early 2009. The findings of
the survey report submitted in June 2009 are summarized in Annexure IV.

56

CFC/ICAC/20

Highlights of Results and their Impact

Chapter 10
Highlights of Results and their Impact
The CFC/ICAC project has been executed by CIRCOT within the five-year period permitted
for its completion. All the work connected with the seven activity components of the project
has been carried out by the Institute team without leaving any gaps either in the physical
targets set in the programme or in the expectations of the sponsoring organisations.
The central theme of the project has been the popularization of CIRCOT processes for
particle board and hardboard manufacture using cotton stalk as raw material. These
processes were to be elevated from the status of successful laboratory experiments to that
of commercially viable technologies worthy of adoption by the board industry in India and
other cotton growing countries. Pilot plan trials and large scale industrial trials conducted
as part of the technical programme in the project have established beyond doubt the true
merits of CIRCOT technologies. Important findings and their likely impact on stakeholders'
fortunes are briefly discussed in this chapter.
10.1

Major Achievements of the Project

?
A cost-effective supply chain mechanism has been developed for collection,
cleaning, chipping, storage and transportation of cotton stalk from the field to the
particle board factory at an economically affordable price to the industry.
?
Awareness has been created amongst farmers about the utility of cotton plant stalks
as an industrial raw material for particle board manufacture and about the additional
income they can earn from the sale of cotton stalk to the board industry.
?
As an R & D exercise a cotton stalk cleaning system was developed and evaluated.
?
The process of particle board manufacture was standardised on the pilot plant. New
eco-friendly resins have been developed and used in board making. Boards having
termite resistance, fire retardance and water repellent properties were prepared.
?
Industrial trials were undertaken to work out the techno-economic feasibility of the
processes of particle board and hardboard manufacture using cotton stalks. It has
been demonstrated that good quality boards suitable for lamination can be
manufactured by using cotton stalks without any major modifications in the existing
plants.
?
Industry has been convinced about the utility of cotton stalk as raw material for
particle board and hardboard manufacture and is ready to use it provided cleaned,
chipped cotton stalks are made available at the factory gate at an affordable price.
?
Awareness is also created amongst entrepreneurs, NGO's, financial institutions and
Governmental agencies about the effectiveness of cotton stalk as an industrial raw
material for particle board manufacture.

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57

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

10.2

Benefit to Stakeholders

10.2.1 Additional Income for Farmers
On an average, about 3 tonnes of cotton stalks are generated from every hectare of cotton
farm in rain-fed areas. This figure can go up to 14 tonnes in irrigated tracts. The stalks
presently do not find any commercial application and are disposed of by burning. If used for
manufacture of value-added products like particle boards and hardboards, the stalks can
fetch an additional income of Rs. 650 (US $ 13) per ha of rainfed farm and about Rs. 2500
(US $ 50) per ha of irrigated farm. This will supplement the income earned by the farmer
from the sale of seed-cotton.
10.2.2 A New Raw Material for Composite Board Industry
Presently the composite board and paper industries are dependent on forest-based raw
materials. Acute scarcity of these raw materials created by environmental concerns and
Government policies on deforestation has threatened the closure of these units. Under
such circumstances the use of cotton plant stalk as an alternative raw material for
manufacture of composite boards can definitely raise the morale of these industries.
10.2.3 Avenues for Setting up of Rural Industry
Development of cost effective technologies for the preparation of value-added products
from cotton stalks and their demonstration and training to interested entrepreneurs can
definitely open up avenues for the establishment of rural industries in all cotton growing
tracts. Developing countries could benefit a great deal by setting up such rural industries.
10.2.4 Employment Opportunities for Rural Youth
Unemployment is a serious problem faced by a majority of the agriculture-trained
personnel in both developing and least developed countries of the world. The problem is
more severe in the rural areas due to lack of infrastructure facilities and industries.
Therefore, a large number of rural youths migrate to urban areas in search of employment
thereby causing overcrowding of cities. Setting up of industries based on cotton plant byproduce can help in generation of employment opportunities in rural areas whereby
migration of rural youths to urban centres could be averted.
10.2.5 Conservation of Forest Resources
Presently forest timber is being used for making furniture, in construction industry and as
raw material for the manufacture of composite boards. The demand is quite high and it is
becoming increasingly difficult to meet this high demand from existing forest resources
which are depleting very fast. Promotion of cotton stalks which constitute a renewable and
naturally available lignocellulosic material, as a substitute for forest timber can have a
significant impact on the preservation of forest resources.

58

CFC/ICAC/20

Highlights of Results and their Impact

10.3

Future Action Plan for Success of the Project

For the success of all the efforts made in this project, it is most essential that a few supply
chain centres are established in clusters of cotton growing areas for collection and chipping
of cotton stalks and supply of chips to the particle board industry. Initially these centres
need to be set up with financial assistance from the government. They will serve as
demonstration centres which subsequently can be taken over by private entrepreneurs.
The use of cotton stalks as a raw material for particle board industry would fetch an
additional income of about 5% to the farmers. Also this would have a positive impact on the
environment. Reduction in the use of wood for particle board manufacture would contribute
significantly to the slowing down of the deforestation process.

FINAL REPORT

59

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

References

60

1.

Balasubramanya R. H., Shaikh A. J., Paralikar K. M. and Sundaram V., Spoilage
of Cotton Stalks During Storage and Suggestions for its Prevention, J.
Indian Society for Cotton Improvement, 15:34-39, (1990).

2.

Sundaram .V., Balasubramanya R. H., Shaikh A. J., Bhatta I. G. and Sitaram M.
S., Utilisation of Cotton Stalks, J. Indian Society for Cotton Improvement,
14(1):94-99 (1989).

3.

Pandey S. N. and Shaikh A. J., A study on Chemical Composition of Cotton
Plant Stalk of Different Species, Indian Pulp and Paper, 41: 10-13 (1986).

4.

Pandey S. N. & Mehta A. K., Industrial Utilisation of Agril. Products : Cotton
Plant Stalk, Research and Industry, 24(2):75, (1979).

5.

Pandey S. N. & Mehta A. K., Particle Boards from Cotton Stalks, Research
and Industry, 25:67-70, (1980).

6.

Gurjar R. M., Cotton Stalk Particle Boards A Timber Substitute, Research
and Industry, 39(9):153-155, (1994).

7.

Mahanta D., Particle Board and Hardboard from Cotton Stalk, Indian
Chemical Manufacturer, 22(8):15-21, 1984.

8.

Guler C. & Ozen R., Some Properties of Particleboards made from Cotton
Stalks (Gossypium hirsitum L.), European Journal of Wood and Wood
Products, 62(1), 40-43, March, 2004.

9.

Negi J. S. and Chawla J. S., Composite Boards from Cotton Stalks, Research
and Industry, 40(12):267-271, (1995).

10.

Narayanamurti D., Fibre Boards from Indian Timbers, Indian Forester, 86(1): 515, (1960).

11.

Pandey S. N., Das R. N. and Day A., Particle Board from Jute & Its
Lamination A new Process, Research and Industry, 35:227-229, (1990).

12.

Negi J. S., Utilisation of Lantana camera Laminated composite Boards,
Research and Industry, 31(1):22, (1994).

13.

Fadl N. A. and Sefain M., Hardboard from Retted Rice Straw and Cotton
Stalk, Research and Industry, 28(8):95, (1983-84).

14.

Balasubramanya R. H., Shaikh A. J. and Sreenivasan S., Cotton Crop and
Industry Waste , in Environment and Agriculture Edited by Chadha K. L. and
Swaminathan M. S., Malhotra Publishing House, New Delhi: 2008.

15.

Khandeparkar, V. G., Balasubramanya, R. H. and Shaikh, A. J. (1993), A Process
for the Preparation of Paper Grade Pulp from Cotton Plant Stalk by Anaerobic
Digestion. (Indian Patent No. 176891, July, 1993).

16.

Fadl N. A., Sefain Z. and Rekha M., Hardening of Cotton Stalk Hardboards,
Indian Pulp and Paper, 33(2):3, August (1978).

CFC/ICAC/20

References

17.

Fadl N. A., Heikal S. O., El-Shinnawy and Moussa, M. A., Hardboard from
Cooked Rice Straw Blended with Cotton Stalks, Indian Pulp and Paper,
35(1):19-22, (1980).

18.

Pandey, S. N. and Shaikh, A. J., Utilisation of Cotton Plant Stalks for
Production of Pulp and Paper, Biol. Wastes, 21, 63-70, (1987).

19.

Shaikh, A. J., Blending of Cotton Stalk Pulp with Bagasse Pulp for Paper
Making, Biol. Wastes, 31, 37-43, (1990).

20.

Pandey S. N., Ghosh I. N. & Day A., Utilisation of Non-wood Fibrous Raw
Material for Pulp, Paper and Board, Research and Industry, 40(12):285-288,
(1995).

21.

Pandey S. N. and Shaikh A. J., Production of various Grades of Paper from
Cotton Plant Stalk, Indian Pulp and Paper, 40: 14-18 (1985).

22.

Balasubramanya, R. H., (1981), An Edible Mushroom Crop on Cotton Stalks,
J. Indian Soc. Cotton Improv., 6, 104-105.

23.

Balasubramanya R. H. and Khandeparkar V. G., Mushroom Crop on Spent
Cotton Stalks, Indian Society for Cotton Improvement J., 14:85-86, (1989).

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61

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Annexure I
Highlights of International Workshop
An International Workshop on Utilization of Cotton Plant By-produce for Value Added
Products was organized by CIRCOT during 9-11 November, 2009 at Hotel Pride, at
Nagpur in collaboration with CFC & ICAC. The workshop was attended by about 200
delegates of whom 20 came from outside India.
The inaugural session was chaired by Dr. M. M. Pandey, DDG (Engg.) ICAR, New Delhi.
Mr. Terry Townsend, Executive Director, ICAC, Amb. Ali Mchumo, MD, CFC, Mr. Sietse van
der Werff, Sr. Project Manager, CFC, Netherlands and Dr. K.R. Kranthi, Director, CICR
were guests of honour.
Dr. S. Sreenivasan, Director CIRCOT briefed the delegates about the relevance of the
project, highlighting the potential of by-product utilization in generating income for cotton
farmers in Afro-Asian countries. Mr. Terry Townsend, presented a glimpse of world cotton
scenario and emphasized on the benefits that could come to farmers through value
addition of cotton biomass. Mr. Ali Mchumo expressed the opinion that the project would
improve the economic status of farmers in India and other cotton growing countries. Mr.
Sietse van der Werff, highlighted the aims and objectives of the CFC and expressed his
hope that the achievements of the project would be in tune with the expectations of CFC.
Dr. K. R. Kranthi dwelt at length on the problems encountered by small and marginal
farmers but believed that the cotton biomass could bring some financial relief to farmers
even in the event of crop failure likely under rainfed condition. Dr. M. M. Pandey, lauded
efforts of CIRCOT for providing a new route for additional income to farmers and felt
confident that this study may be extended to the utilization of huge biomass generated by
other crops as well.
The deliberations of the two-day workshop were spread over four technical sessions
addressed by eminent speakers besides the presentation of the project findings by the
project associates.
Technical Session I : Presentation of CFC/ICAC Project Findings
on 9th November, 2009
This session was chaired by Dr. M.M. Pandey, DDG (Engg.), ICAR, New Delhi.
papers were presented in this session.

Two

Dr. A.J. Shaikh, Co-PI of the project presented the progress made under Components I
and II of the CFC/ICAC project.
Dr. Shaikh's presentation on Cotton Stalk Supply Chain Management brought out the
absence of an established cotton stalk supply chain as the bottle-neck in the way of
commercial utilization of the material for making value-added products. Three conceptual
models were addressed in the project. Among them, the most economical and workable
model was the one involving uprooting of stalks with a simple mechanical device, cleaning

62

CFC/ICAC/20

Annexure I - Highlights of International
Workshop

them in the field itself, transportation of stalks by farmers from the field to the chipping
centre and finally chipping of stalks and transportation of chips to the factory by local
entrepreneurs. The presentation also highlighted the R & D efforts for developing a
cleaning system for cotton stalk. Though feasible for adoption in the industry, the machine
was not recommended for adoption at field level, due to non availability of power source in
farm yards.
Mr. R. M. Gurjar, Project Associate presented the highlights of Achievements made under
Components III, IV and V of the Project. This presentation, gave graphic details of the pilot
plant installed at the GTC, Nagpur and discussed the results of standardization trials on the
pilot plant to get good quality particle boards from cotton stalks. The presentation also
discussed at length the various R&D trials undertaken on the pilot plant such as preparation
of melamine-coated boards, resin-impregnated laminated boards, termite-resistant, flameretardant and water-repellent boards, blending trials with bagasse and mulberry stalks, etc.
Mr. Gurjar also highlighted the achievements made under the component pertaining to the
manufacture of binderless boards from cotton stalk. The process of making binderless
boards from cotton stalk standardized in the laboratory as well as the commercial trials
undertaken in the factory of M/s Jolly Board Ltd. were discussed. Estimation of the cost of
production and profitability of 10 and 20 TPD capacity particle board plants was another
highlight of the presentation.
In the post tea session Dr. A. J. Shaikh, Co. PI of the project presented the achievements
made under Component VI & VII. In this presentation, details of the efforts made in creating
awareness about the utility of cotton stalks as an industrial raw material and the benefits
that could be derived by farmers were highlighted. Awareness creation amongst the board
industry by undertaking production trials and organizing interface meets with industry was
also highlighted. Participation in trade fairs, seminars, exhibitions, farmers' meets, etc.
was also discussed besides dissemination the project results at national and international
platforms. The availability of pilot plant facility at Nagpur for training of personnel from the
member countries was stressed and invitation was extended to all to take advantage of this
facility.
The technical session was followed by a visit of all delegates to the pilot plant facility at
GTC, Nagpur for witnessing the process of particle board manufacture from cotton stalks.
.
Technical Session II : Composite Boards from Cotton Stalks and Other Crop
Residues on 10th November 2009
This session was chaired by Dr. N.S.L. Srivastava, Joint director, SPRERI, Gujarat, and
nine interesting papers were presented.
Dr. Anupam Barik, Director, DOCD, Mumbai presented an overview of cotton scenario in
various countries of the world. He also focussed on the availability of cotton stalks in India.
Dr. C.N. Pandey, Director, IPIRTI, Bangalore presented a paper in which he highlighted
the use of non-traditional agro-residues like cotton stalk, bamboo, rice husk, jute, chir pine
needles etc. in the manufacture of value-added products such as particle boards, mats,
etc. Mr. V. S. Raju, Chairman & MD, Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune expressed concern
about the depleting forest cover of India and stressed the need to use agro-residues like

FINAL REPORT

63

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

cotton stalk for particle board preparation as an alternative to wood. Mr. Nitin Vaze of
Sleek Board Ltd., Pune presented the view that to remain competitive in the world market,
plants with high capacity would be the answer. He advocated the need for creation of large
cotton farms for high capacity board industry. Mr. Ganfade from Godavari Particle Board
Industries Ltd., Nanded shared his experiences about collection, chipping and particle
board production from cotton stalk. He acknowledged the support received from CIRCOT
in this endeavour.
Mr. West K Chitah, Director, CDT, Zambia outlined a project proposal for setting up a 30
TPD particle board plant using cotton stalk as raw material. He hoped that supply chain
logistics and technology for production of particle boards from cotton stalks developed by
CIRCOT would be a forerunner for the upcoming projects in African countries. In another
paper Dr. G.R. Anap, International Consultant presented two possible models coupling
existing facilities of a ginning industry with a particle board industry. He opined that such a
model would enhance the profitability of board industry. Mr. Gee Verghese, Grace
Enterprises, Nagpur spoke on the production of composite boards, particle boards and
MDF boards from cotton stalk. He presented details of the machinery requirement for
setting up 10, 20 & 30 TPD plants suitable for crop residues. Mr. Pankaj Agrawal followed
with a brief presentation on market survey report with regard to composite boards from
cotton stalks and projected a market demand for cotton stalk boards @ 3 % annually till
2018.
Session III : Alternate Uses of Cotton Stalks and Other Crop Residues
on 10th November, 2009.
The session was chaired by Dr. R.P. Kachru, Former ADG (PE), ICAR, New Delhi. Four
interesting papers were discussed in this session.
Dr. N.S.L. Srivastava, Joint Director, SPRERI, Gujarat gave a detailed presentation on
briquetting of crop residues with special reference to cotton stalks. In his presentation he
discussed the cost economics and market potential of briquetting plants. Dr. Greg Holt,
Research Leader, Cotton Production & Processing Unit, Lubbock, USA presented the next
paper on the use of cotton gin waste as filler in polymer composites. He also elaborated on
the technical details of commercial scale trials for preparation of such composites. Dr. A. K.
Dubey, Principal Scientist, CIAE, Bhopal analysed the generation of energy from cotton
stalk and other crop residues. He presented technical details of biomethanation,
briquetting, gasification, etc. Dr. S.K. Tandon, ADG (Engg.), ICAR, New Delhi in his paper
on the use of cotton stalks for industrial purposes observed that burning of cotton stalks in
the field would result in emission of green house gasses and suggested alternative uses of
cotton stalk such as production of bio-energy, particle board and other environmentfriendly industrial applications.

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Annexure I - Highlights of International
Workshop

th

Session IV an “Interactive Session” on 10 November, 2009
This session chaired by Dr. Y.S. Nerkar, Former VC, MPKV, Rahuri, witnessed a general
address by Chairman followed by fruitful interaction among all delegates.
Recommendations
The discussions in the concluding session crystallized into the following specific
recommendations to be acted on and followed up by concerned organizations.
«
Attempts should be made to secure the same taxation benefits currently enjoyed by
bagasse boards to cotton stalk based boards to make the latter more competitive in
cost. (CIRCOT)
«
Value-addition to crop residues should be declared as a national agenda for India
and attempts should be made to get carbon credit for this activity. (CIRCOT)
«
The technology developed by CIRCOT is equally suitable for adoption in many Afroasian countries, hence policy initiatives are needed to set up a few particle board
industries not only in India but also in all cotton growing countries of Africa.
(ICAC/Govt. of African Countries)
«
Systematic data should be gathered on the availability of cotton stalk in various
cotton growing countries of the world. (CIRCOT/CICR)
«
The pilot plant facility created at GTC should continue to run on a regular basis and it
should be used for imparting training to prospective entrepreneurs from India and
other countries. (CIRCOT/ICAC/CFC)
«
Concerted effort needs to be made to popularize the technologies developed by
CIRCOT through awareness meets. (CIRCOT/DAC)
«
A few supply chain centres should be created across the country to promote
entrepreneurship for a sustainable supply of cotton stalk to the board industry.
Appropriate government agencies and national or international funding agencies
may be approached for establishing such centres. (CIRCOT)

FINAL REPORT

65

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Annexure II
Composition of Project Co-ordination Committee

66

1.

Director, CIRCOT
Mumbai

Chairman

2.

Asstt. Director General (PE)
ICAR, New Delhi

Member

3.

Director, CICR
Nagpur

Member

4.

Project Co-ordinator (Cotton)
Coimbatore

Member

5.

Chairman-cum-Managing Director
Cotton Corporation of India Ltd.
Mumbai

Member

6.

Dr. R. P. Kachru
Fomer Asstt. Director General (PE)
ICAR, New Delhi

Member

7.

Director, DOCD
Mumbai

Member

8.

Mr. Suresh Kotak, President
COTAAP Research Foundation
Mumbai

Member

9.

Mr. V. S. Raju, CMD
Ecoboard Industries Ltd., Pune

Member

10.

Director, IPIRTI
Bangalore

Member

11.

Mr. V. S. Ramakrishnan
CMD Homag India, Bangalore

Member

CFC/ICAC/20

Annexure III - Report of the Mid-term review
Team

Annexure III
Report of the Mid-term Review Team
The CFC had appointed a Mid-Term Review Team in December 2007. The Team made an
on-the-spot assessment of the progress of the project and its achievements. Comments
and recommendations of the Review Team were contained in the Report submitted soon
after. Highlights of the Report are given below.
Principal Observations
?
Industrial utilization of cotton stalk envisaged in the project can have a large impact
on the income of 4 million cotton farmers in India.
?
Establishment of a viable supply chain mechanism is crucial to the successful
utilization of cotton stalk.
?
Cotton stalk will have to confront the fierce competition from bagasse which has
advantages such as (i) availability in bulk form from sugar mills without need to
evolve a supply chain mechanism, (ii) availability over a longer period (6 months)
and (iii) readyto-use form in which it can be collected from sugar industry.
?
Another advantage bagasse has over cotton stalk is the reduced excise duty of 8%
on boards made from the former as against 16% duty levied on all other boards.
?
In transportation cost, cotton stalk has an edge over bagasse which is highly moist
when it leaves the sugar factory.
?
Board industry which is under pressure due to ban on felling of trees will be happy to
accept cotton stalk as raw material.
?
Good work done in the project needs to be shared with industrial players through
wide ranging publicity instruments.
Recommendations
¢
Focused effort should be made to establish economically viable supply chain
mechanisms by involving private players to deliver cotton stalk to particle board
industry.
o Response : Supply chain model for cotton stalk has been prepared.
Collection, cleaning, chipping and delivery at particle board factory are
critical components in this model. The economics of these operations has
been worked out.
¢
Utilization of waste generated during pre-processing of cotton stalk other than
briquetting also should be explored.
o Response : Briquetting was the only item included in the work agenda. No
other application was therefore attempted.

FINAL REPORT

67

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

¢
A fresh look may be made at baling/compacting as an option to be persued for
reducing transportation cost.
o
Response : Compacting unchipped cotton stalk is found to be an energyintensive operation. Transporting chipped material is convenient and
economical.
¢
Setting up pilot plant for particle board making has been a worthwhile effort, but the
plant should be put to effective use as an instrument for commercializing the
CIRCOT technologies.
o Response : Pilot plant is now being used extensively for demonstrating the
CIRCOT technology.
¢
?
Efforts should be made to urge the government to exempt cotton stalk boards from
the purview of excise duty of 16% or to at least reduce the duty to 8% on par with
bagasse boards.
o Response : CIRCOT will take up this matter with the government after actual
utilization of cotton stalk commences in board industry.
¢
Market information on particle boards should be updated.
o
Response : A market survey has been conducted. The findings of the survey
are abstracted in Annexure IV.
¢
Consumer trials should be conducted to monitor the behaviour of boards in actual
use.
o
Response : Laminated cotton stalk particle boards produced in various
industrial trials have been used in room partitioning and wall panelling at
CIRCOT, GTC at Nagpur and ICAR Headquarters in New Delhi.
¢
Awareness should be created among existing board manufacturers about the
potential of cotton stalk as a substitute for other raw materials.
o
Response : Many awareness meetings have been organized for the benefit
of board industry. CIRCOT Scientists have presented papers in national and
international seminars detailing the new technologies.

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Annexure IV - Market Survey of Particle
Boards and Hardboards

Annexure IV
Market Survey of Particle Boards and Hardboards
Based on the suggestions made by the Mid-term Review Team, a fresh market survey was
conducted. M/s Mott Macdonald was the agency entrusted to do the market survey (prior to
commencement of the project, one market survey had been conducted in 2003). Given
below are the salient findings of the second market survey, the report on which was
submitted by the agency in June, 2009.
There are about 22-25 major manufacturers of composite boards in India. Most
«
of the manufacturers make only particle boards while a few of them make MDF
and hardboards also.
«
Most of the manufacturers have set up their production facility close to metro
cities or second-tier cities.
«
Production of composite boards grew from 172,000 cubic metres (cu.m) in 2002
to 263,000 cu. m in 2009. In this, the share of particle board was about 50%
while MDF and hardboard constituted 34% and 16% respectively.
«
The market demand for composite boards in India grew at an annual rate of
12% from 215,000 cu. m in 2002 to 522,000 cu. m in 2009. In this the shares of
components were as follows :
Particle board : 46 %
MDF : 30 %
Hardboard : 24 %
«
Supply-demand gap is met by imports which grew at an annual rate of 28% from
46,000 cu. m in 2002 to 265,000 cu. m in 2009.
«
In the years to come, the demand for composite boards is expected to witness
an increase. An annual growth of 11% is likely in the demand for composite
boards.
«
The price of particle boards (18 mm thick) grew at an annual rate of 8% from
Rs. 16 per sq. ft. (US $ 0.32 sq. ft.) in 2002 to Rs. 33 per sq. ft. (US $ 0.66 per sq.
ft.) in 2009. In the mean time the price of MDF and hardboard also rose annually
by about 6%.
«
Bagasse is a major wood substitute and the most commonly used agro-based
material for manufacture of particle boards.

FINAL REPORT

69

Utilisation of Cotton Plant By-Produce for
Value Added Products

Very few manufacturers have attempted cotton stalk as raw material because of
«
problems associated with its availability.
«
Presently no infrastructure is in place for collection of cotton stalk from farmers.
«
As per dealers' report, plywood is the most popular and fastest moving product
segment. Particle board, hardboard and MDF are equally popular among end
users.
«
Market is price-sensitive and any increase in the price of one segment results in
increased sale of substitute product segments.
«
Each manufacturer has appointed one or two major dealers in each city
depending on its market size and geographical spread.
·
«
Market awareness about cotton stalk particle board is poor; very few dealers are
aware of this product.
«
Most of the manufacturers are ready to participate in supply chain programme if
the government, CIRCOT or any other agency is ready to take the lead.

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