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Spain aspires to be the mecca of the new “liquid gold” that takes oil off its throne


The resin is collected drop by drop patiently A trade from the past has a great future. William Arrans, a forestry technical engineer and vice president of the National Association of Factories (ANR), in addition to belonging to a fourth generation of professionals in the sector, points out that the resin can be called “liquid gold” because it is a natural way to replace oil. It is a versatile, sustainable and renewable product. The heart of this opportunity is found mainly in the forests of Castilla y León. Spain has The largest number of manufacturers resin from Europe. According to ARN, “Natural resin is a strategic forest resource for many regions of Castile and Leones as a factor in economic revitalizationa source of rural employment, an element of population stabilization and a tool for preserving forests and the natural heritage itself.

Its potential is calculated in such a way that Almira – the name of the resin extracted from the pine forest – provides 65% It is a raw material for the chemical industry of pine on a global scale. An industry that has a global spin around 10 billion dollars, creating more than 10,500 industrial jobs and nearly 220,000 jobs for resin workers worldwide.

For ANR, “The favorable social, environmental and economic characteristics of the natural resin extraction activity, and its properties place the natural resin of Castilla y León at the center of new bio-economic trends in the European Union, the circular economy and the zero kilometer. Arranz explains that “the polishing process has several stages: preparation for By removing the outer part of the pine bark, then making some slits in the tree and placing some containers where the resin is poured. Each tree can produce 3 to 4 kilograms of resin.

But this revival of resin has known better times. “he was there ‘bubble’ From its use in Spain in the 1960s to the 1990s. At that time, products from China entered and the price fell, which made their use useless in Spain. And it won’t be until 2011 that this business bears fruit again because China She decided to dedicate her resin to internal use, with exports declining”, says Aranz. That was when the market was redirected to Brazil, and in Europe it is concentrated on the peninsula.

alternative

What’s new lies in what Blanca Rodriguez Chaves, Vice Dean of UAM, said on the BBC: «Resin is the oil of the world today and in the future. The idea is that all oil uses should be replaced with resin.” Arranz explains that “recently, for a period of four years, research on biomaterials has been conducted by UPV. The goal is to try to replace petroleum products for the problem of climate change and the accumulation of plastics. The idea of ​​the companies is to invest in the industry in the second shift to develop research and development projects.”

John Lopez, Professor of Materials at UPV, specializes in biodegradable plastics that are alternatives to petroleum and have the added advantage of fairly rapid decomposition. He explains that “there are two big families plastic: synthetics that come from petroleum, and plastics that come from renewable sources and can be composted so that bacteria can digest that plastic.” The interesting thing is using resin in natural plastics so that all the plastic comes from natural products and nature can recover it.

Lopez explains that “we therefore have the technological, environmental and social component. And the green revolution It starts with those people who extract the resin.” And “as an alternative to oil, the potential of Spain is promising, we could reach fifteen million kilograms of resin,” says Aranz. Multiple uses of resin: varnish, glue, rubber, tires…

Arranz explains that not only can bio-natural products be produced from resin. “Settlement of the population while creating jobs by exploiting the resin means generating income for the municipalities that own these mountains. and work resin It works to prevent fires and promote ecotourism. It is a comprehensive service for the mountain. in spite of that They don’t get any help On the part of the administrations, the value of this sector is largely unknown in Spain”, notes Aranz. “Germany is working on resin projects, but if we don’t seize the opportunity by creating a transformation ecosystem in Spain, other than having the raw materials, the opportunity will be missed, and other countries will exploit our resin,” Lopez adds.

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