Canadian Manufacturing

Domtar to build cellulose pilot plant

MONTREAL: Domtar Corp. and FPInnovations have formed a joint venture to build a commercial-scale nanocrystalline cellulose demonstration plant at Domtar pulp and paper mill in Windsor, Que. Construction will take approximately 20 months.

The plant will cost about $32.4 million to build with operating costs estimated at $8.4 million, for a total investment of CDN$40.8 million.

Nanocrystalline cellulose is a renewable and recyclable nanomaterial made of cellulose fibers from the wood pulp manufacturing process. Potential applications include optically-reflective films, high-durability varnishes and bioplastics. This material is slated for a wide range of applications in markets such as aerospace, automotive, chemical, textile and forestry.

“The remarkable properties of nanocrystalline cellulose and wide range of potential applications speak volumes about the commercial potential of new fiber-based products that go beyond traditional pulp and paper applications.” said John D. Williams, president and CEO of Domtar Corp.

“This is an important milestone cumulating over 15 years of R&D investments towards the future development of fiber-based products for the industrial world,” said Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations.

Domtar has submitted $12 million of its total investment for funding approval under the Government of Canada’s Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program. Natural Resources Canada and Quebec’s Natural Resources and Wildlife Ministry are contributing CDN$10.2 million each to FPInnovations’ portion of the funding of this project. All funding is still subject to approval.

The plant will require 10 permanent positions to operate as well as numerous researchers and scientific personnel to deliver on the potential new nanocrystalline cellulose applications and products.

Domtar Corp. designs, manufactures, markets and distributes a wide range of business, commercial printing and publishing as well as converting and specialty papers and employs more than 9,000 people.

FPInnovations is a not-for-profit forest products research institute which performs research, technical services and technology transfer activities relating to wood harvesting, wood products, pulp and paper, nanotechnology and bio-energy and chemical production. Its 600employees are located in Québec City, Montréal and Vancouver, and it has technology transfer offices across Canada.

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