Canadian Manufacturing

Mercer, Resolute team up to commercialize cellulose filaments

Joint venture company will develop commercial applications for wood fibre-based cellulose filaments

MONTREAL and VANCOUVER—A pair of Canadian firms are joining the push into biomaterials, launching a joint venture focused on developing commercial applications for cellulose filaments.

Mercer International Inc. and Resolute Forest Products Inc. have launched a new joint venture company, Performance BioFilaments Inc., to develop commercial applications for cellulose filaments, chemical-free wood fibre-based biomaterials that can be used to produce commercial pulps, papers, packaging, tissues and towels.

Mercer and Resolute are banking on cellulose filaments for their “performance-enhancing properties” that have potential to find their way into a variety of consumer and industrial products.

“The significance of this new biomaterial … is tremendous from both an environmental perspective and the range of possible applications,” Gurminder Minhas, managing director of the joint venture company, said in a statement.

“It holds the potential to make a variety of products stronger, lighter, more flexible and more durable, while leveraging a sustainable and renewable resource.”

The announcement by Mercer and Resolute comes less than a week after Kruger Inc. and not-for-profit research and development organization FPInnovations Inc. announced the inauguration of a $43.1-million cellulose filaments plant at Kruger’s Trois-Rivieres, Que., mill.

According to Mercer and Resolute, their new joint will use a proprietary technology licensed by FPInnovations to process wood pulp to make cellulose filaments.

Performance BioFilaments is a member company of FPInnovations, and now has access to all current and future cellulose filaments research, including production processes and applications, being conducted at the Trois-Rivieres mill.

“Performance BioFilaments is looking to identify joint development partners for novel product applications of cellulose filaments, whereby we can together leverage FPInnovations foundational research and our own proprietary work to create new and exciting products,” said Minhas.

“These applications can be applied within a range of industries from automotive and manufacturing, to construction and high-end consumer products.”

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