Last month CelluForce launched the world’s first large-scale nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) plant on site at a Domtar pulp and paper mill in Windsor, Quebec.
“Today we celebrate a milestone that enables us to be the first in the world on the path to creating a significant market for NCC,” said Jean Moreau, president and CEO of CelluForce, at the plant’s opening in January. “There is an exciting future ahead for NCC and CelluForce.”
Nano-crystalline cellulose is the isolated molecular structure of cellulose – the main component of the cell walls or trees and other plants. NCC can be added to many products such as paper and film to improve its durability, strength and appearance. NCC is also affected by magnetic and electrical fields so it could be useful as a filler in magnetic paper, electronic memory cards and readers, and other electronic products.
In addition to this, NCC is largely renewable, recyclable and biodegradable. On its website, CelluForce says NCC will become a major contributor to the green economy in the coming decades, and should serve as a stratetic platform for sustainable development.
“Our investment in the CelluForce project is part of a larger story at Domtar around unlocking greater value from wood fibre,” said John D. Williams, Domtar president and Chief Executive Officer.
CelluForce – a joint venture of Domtar Corporation and FPInnovations – spent 14 months preparing the Windsor plant for production of NCC, and has set a target of producing 1,000kg (1 tonne) per day in 2012.
According to Pulp and Paper Canada, trials integrating NCC into the manufacturing process of several different products is 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.”