Crude Tall Oil
Production ProcessCrude tall oil, or tall oil, is a viscous, brown liquid obtained as a by-product of the kraft pulping process. The name "tall oil" comes from the Swedish word tallolja, meaning pine oil.
Once the pulping process is complete and the cellulose fibers have been removed, a mixture of biomass called black liquor remains. Soap is the low density part of the black liquor, consisting mostly of tree sap and resin, which floats to the top of the black liquor. As a result, soap can be easily separated from the black liquor and processed into crude tall oil.
Market FundamentalsTall oil is sold to refiners, who in turn create rosins, fuels and other products. Tall oil can provide an environmental-friendly alternative to some products that traditionally use petrochemicals, including speciality chemicals and biodiesel. The European Union is continuing to work towards more stringent carbon regulations, making for favorable markets for the sale of bio-based fuel products like tall oil.
Mercer has two tall oil plants, one at our Stendal mill and another at our Rosenthal mill. The Stendal tall oil plant has been in operation since the mill's start-up in 2004 and has a capacity of approximately 25,500 tonnes per year. The Rosenthal plant has been in operation since Q4 2014 and has a capacity of approximately 6,000 tonnes per year.