Spain can be one of the great beneficiaries of the uses of pine resin, a potential for the future that aims to establish itself as biodegradable liquid gold and replace in many of its applications to oil, whose reserves are expected to be depleted, approximately, in the year 2050.
Resin can become a strategic raw material in the coming years and consolidate itself as an important alternative, much more sustainable and economical as the price of crude oil skyrockets. Its technology can act as a sealant, glue and varnish, and its extraction revalues the mountains, prevents fires and pests and protects biodiversity.
Currently, Spain is the country with the largest number of resin manufacturers in all of Europe, as well as being one of the last in the Old Continent where this traditional practice resists. After Sweden, our country is the territory with the most forest in Europe.
In 1961, Spain produced 55,267 tons of resin, more than 90% coming from the forests of Ávila, Valladolid, Soria and Segovia. Lack of demand and sharp drop in prices led production to decline and almost disappear in the 1990s.
However, the last decade has been a before and after within the resin industry thanks to the impulse by the crisis of the plastic culture. Not only has it been re-resin, but little by little the research programs and national plans are beginning to resurface.
In Castilla y León, where this new treasure is hidden in many of its 400,000 hectares, resin has not only been an economic support for rural communities, but a trade that is transmitted from generation to generation. Although the Segovian province is the great reference in this regard, since it brings together around one and a half million pines destined for resin, spread over more than 60 locations.
The oil of the future
“Resin is the oil of the world today and of the future. The idea is that all uses of oil are replaced by resin,” he says in statements to the BBC, Blanca Rodríguez-Chaves, vice dean of the Faculty of Law of the Autonomous University of Madrid.
He argues that most petroleum-based products, such as plastic, which is not biodegradable, can also be made with resin and break down more easily. “The forest is the great supplier of renewable resources and energy that allows to substitute petroleum products. Resin plays the main role,” he assures.
For his part, Guillermo Arranz, a technical forestry and resin engineer, reveals that a minimum of 6,000 pines are needed to live off the resin and make it profitable, from March to September. “I have been in this for 10 years and it is a good future. It is a sector that today depends a lot on the price of oil, but there will be less and less oil and more expensive and resin is its main competitor,” he reveals in the BBC.