TROIS-RIVIERES, Que.—The world’s first cellulose filament demonstration has been dedicated at paper and wood products maker Kruger Inc.’s paper mill in southern Quebec.
Kruger and not-for-profit FPInnovations held a dedication ceremony at the Trois-Rivieres, Que., mill for the five-tonne-per-day demonstration that produces cellulose filament, a revolutionary new material extracted from wood pulp fibres.
According to Kruger, cellulose filaments can be used as a lightweight strengthening additive to produce lower cost commercial pulps, papers, packaging, tissues and towels.
Announced in December 2013, the demonstration cost $43.1 million, of which $15 million was funded by the federal government.
“This demonstration plant is a great example of how collaboration and strategic investment in research and development can lead to the development of innovative new products that will transform the pulp and paper industry while supporting traditional markets,” FPInnovations president and CEO Pierre Lapointe said in a statement.
“The inauguration of this facility places Canada in the pole position of global competition to develop the next generation of cellulose-based materials.”
The potential initial market for cellulose filaments as a strength reinforcing agent for traditional pulp and paper products is “conservatively estimated” at 120,000 tons per year in North America alone, according to Kruger.
“It is with great pride that we are celebrating the dedication of this demonstration plant that promotes a technology of the future,” said Daniel Archambault, executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Kruger’s industrial products division.
“The unique potential of cellulose filaments, combined with our R&D efforts, will help the Canadian forest industry progress and have a bright future.”
The company said an “intensive concurrent” research and development program will be implemented to explore the industrial application of cellulose filament in different commercial pulps, papers, packaging, tissues and towels, as well as thermosets, thermoplastics, coatings, construction panels and non-woven fibres.