Lab Canada

Nanomaterial from wood fibre the focus of new demo plant

Montreal, QC – CelluForce has officially inaugurated a NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC) demonstration plant, at the Domtar pulp and paper mill site in Windsor, Quebec. The company says it is the world’s first NCC plant, and will focus on developing commercial applications for the nanomaterial.

NCC is an advanced material derived from wood fibre that improves the strength, durability and toughness of products. It can reduce damage caused by wear, abrasion and light. The high-value nanomaterial can also be incorporated into systems to make light reflective structures (tunable from ultraviolet to infrared), impermeable to gas and stable over time. It is also renewable, recyclable, compostable and bio-degradable.

The official opening was celebrated by Jean Moreau, CelluForce’s president and CEO; along with Joe Oliver, federal Minister of Natural Resources; Alain Paquet, Québec’s Minister for Finance; John D Williams, president and CEO of Domtar; and Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations. CelluForce is a joint venture of Domtar and FPInnovations.

CelluForce is ramping up production of NCC with a target of reaching 1 metric tons per day production rate in 2012. Trials integrating NCC into the manufacturing process of different products are currently taking place through technical collaboration agreements between CelluForce and 15 companies based in Canada, the United States, Europe and Asia in four main industrial sectors: paints and coatings, films and barriers, textiles, and composites.

Plant construction extended over a 14-month period. Financing of the $36 million plant included $23.2 million from Natural Resources Canada (Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program and Transformative Technologies Program) and $10.2 million from Québec’s Natural Resources and Wildlife Department.

“This is the stellar result of the winning combination of Domtar’s operational expertise with FPInnovations’ technical and scientific knowledge to develop an effective manufacturing process for NanoCrystalline Cellulose,” said Jean Moreau, president and CEO of CelluForce . “Governments were receptive to our project, which was in line with their innovation and forestry industry strategies, while our enthusiastic employees were thrilled to participate in such a unique and innovative initiative. Today we celebrate a milestone that enables us to be the first in he world on the path to creating a significant market for NCC. There is an exciting future ahead for NCC and CelluForce.”