Montreal, QC – Domtar and FPInnovations have formed a new joint venture company to build what they say is the world’s first one metric ton per day commercial-scale nanocrystalline cellulose demonstration plant at the Domtar Windsor, Quebec pulp and paper mill site. Construction will begin in the coming weeks and will take approximately 20 months to be completed.
“We are very excited to explore new frontiers by bringing together our operational expertise and the technical knowledge of FPInnovations for the efficient manufacture of this innovative and renewable product,” said John D Williams, Domtar’s president and CEO. “The remarkable properties of nanocrystalline cellulose and wide range of potential applications speak volumes about the commercial potential of new fibre-based products that go beyond traditional pulp and paper applications.”
“This is an important milestone cumulating over 15 years of R&D investments towards the future development of fibre-based products for the industrial world. During this time FPInnovations developed an extensive intellectual property portfolio around the manufacturing and application of nanocrystalline cellulose,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations.
Nanocrystalline cellulose is a renewable, recyclable and abundant nanomaterial made of cellulose fibres from the wood pulp manufacturing process. Potential applications include optically-reflective films, high-durability varnishes, and innovative bioplastics.
The properties of this material will provide new opportunities in a wide range of applications for a variety of sectors and markets such as the aerospace, automotive, chemical, textile and forestry industries.
The cost of construction of the demonstration plant is approximately $32.4 million and operating costs are estimated at $8.4 million, for a total cost of $40.8 million. $12 million of Domtar’s total contribution has been submitted for funding approval under the federal government’s Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program. Natural Resources Canada and Quebec’s Natural Resources and Wildlife Ministry are contributing $10.2 million each to FPInnovations’ portion of the funding of this project. All funding is still subject to approval.
Approximately 10 permanent positions will be needed to operate the demonstration plant. In addition, numerous researchers and scientific personnel have been and will continue working to deliver on the potential new nanocrystalline cellulose applications and products.
Following the construction phase, under the joint venture agreement, Domtar and FPInnovations will explore the commercial viability of the production of nanocrystalline cellulose on a larger commercial scale.