In 1980, Costa Rica spent the income from its coffee production entirely on the purchase of petroleum products. Fully aware of the dilema facing it, the government has placed top priority on satisfying its energy requirements from its own renewable natural resources. One means of achieving this would be the establishment of agro-industrial complexes for the industrialization of sugar cane operations to produce not only sugar but also alcohol and other cane products and of the cane acreage to support it. These other cane products will likely include panel building materials, lignin-based resins, animal feedstock and fuel. Morrison, Hershfield, Burgess and Huggins Limited (MHBH), on behalf of a group of Canadian companies, has requested financial support for a feasibility study for the integrated industrial utilization of sugar cane in Costa Rica. The members in this group of companies are prepared, and competent, to implement the capital project which the feasibility study will examine.
Panel manufacturers, with the help of resin producers, R&D laboratories such as Forintek and their own ingeniosity have succeeded in constantly improving OSB performance. It is thus expected that the OSB share of the composite market will continue to increase as it offers an interesting alternative to other wood and non-wood panels. However, some properties such as surface quality and dimensional stability still need to be improved to help OSB in capturing new markets. Following an industry recommendation, Forintek initiated a project to develop OSB/waferboard panels with superior properties that could be used for applications other than sheathing. The stylus equipment, needed to measure the surface of OSb samples subjected to various moisture treatment, was purchased. Preliminary screening work indicated that the surface smoothness of OSB underlayment could be improved by filling the voids with a high solids filler/coating latex, by addition of fine wood particles which pass through a 850 um screen opening or by the addition of wood or paper fibers onto the surface of OSB. One filler/coating identified in this preliminary study may be acceptable for underlayment applications. The best results, for samples conditioned under severe moisture conditions, were obtained with the paper fiber or wood fiber bonded onto OSB surface.