Products that utilise tall oil include detergents, inks, veneers and adhesives, with tall oil distillates even found in such surprising places as bread and wall coatings.
"The best-known uses of tall oil in Finland must be for various detergents such as liquid pine soap, but even alkyd paints like Miranol owe their glossy finish to tall oil," explains Risto Näsi, CEO of the Rauma-based chemicals supplier Forchem Oy.
"Even so, the most unusual use of tall oil is probably in Benecol food products, which include plant sterols and stanols manufactured from tall oil fractions."
A simple packet of household washing powder provides a good example of the sheer diversity of products derived from pulp industry tall oil. These products may be found not only in the detergent itself, but also in the printing inks used on the packaging and in the adhesives that secure the label and price tag in place.
Forchem is Europe's leading biorefinery, processing tall oil for further refining into a range of special chemical industry products, biofuels for energy generating, and raw material for vehicle fuel.
Risto Näsi remains confident that the company's sourcing of crude tall oil will remain dependable despite global restructuring of the pulp industry:
"Long-fiber softwood pulp is needed for reinforcing short-fiber pulp in many applications, and so the growing use of eucalyptus is even likely to drive demand for Nordic softwood pulp, thereby increasing output of crude tall oil."
Forchem supplies several leading chemical, energy and wood processing industry businesses spread across nearly all of Europe. The company's turnover was about EUR 130 million in 2012.