Lab Canada

$2.25M boosts cellulose filaments research

Vancouver, BC – BC’s provincial government is providing $2.25 million to support FPInnovations’ cellulose filaments (CF) research.

The project has received total funding so far of $43.1 million, including support from Natural Resources Canada, a grant from the Québec Ministry of Natural Resources, a loan from Investissement Québec, a contribution from Kruger Inc. and funds from FPInnovations’ pulp, paper and bioproducts industry members.

The $2.25 million will be used as part of an existing R&D program focused on non-traditional applications of CF that are of interest to, and most beneficial for BC – specifically for the province’s northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) pulp producers.

A highly innovative wood-fibre based biomaterial, CF is expected to have an immediate impact on Canada’s forest industry due to its capacity to be integrated into other materials and to its high strength, light weight and flexibility. CF will be used in a wide range of applications as a lightweight strengthening additive to produce lower cost commercial pulps, papers, packaging, tissues and towels. Looking to the future, it may be combined with many materials to create high value products ranging from flexible packaging and films to structural and non-structural panels in building construction.

“This announcement is a shining example of how collaboration and targeted investment in research and development can positively impact traditional markets while leading to the development of innovative new products,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations. “Cellulose filaments are set to become a key element in the transformation of the Canadian pulp and paper industry enabling the industry to gain a foot-hold in non-traditional markets while building on its existing manufacturing capacity in forest-dependent communities across BC.”

BC has the largest production of market pulp in Canada and will be most affected by reduced demand for pulp going into traditional products such as printing and writing papers. Any impact on market pulp capacity in BC will also affect demand and value of wood chips, in turn affecting the financial stability of sawmills and wood products. Product diversification is essential to maintain pulp market share, generate additional revenue and maximize total value of fibre from BC’s forests.