"As the leader in our industry, we are very excited to explore new frontiers by bringing together our operational expertise and the technical knowledge of FPInnovations for the efficient manufacture of this innovative and renewable product," said John D. Williams, President and Chief Executive Officer of Domtar Corporation. "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."
"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. During this time FPInnovations developed an extensive intellectual property portfolio around the manufacturing and application of nanocrystalline cellulose," said Pierre Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations. "I am confident that this partnership and the strong support of both governments will lead to exciting and successful new commercial applications."
Nanocrystalline cellulose is a renewable, recyclable and abundant nanomaterial made of cellulose fibers from the wood pulp manufacturing process. Potential applications include optically-reflective films, high-durability varnishes, and innovative bioplastics. The properties of this material will provide new opportunities in a wide range of applications for a variety of sectors and markets such as the aerospace, automotive, chemical, textile and forestry industries. There are promising applications for the aerospace industry that will complement Quebec's innovative aerospace "green" aircraft program.
The cost of construction of the demonstration plant is approximately CDN$32.4 million and operating costs are estimated at CDN$8.4 million, for a total investment of CDN$40.8 million. CDN$12 million of Domtar's total contribution has been submitted 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.
During the construction phase, the project will provide approximately 50 jobs as well as engineering services from the Quebec and the Canadian engineering firms, Teknika and Noram, respectively. Approximately 10 permanent positions will be needed to operate the demonstration plant. In addition, numerous researchers and scientific personnel have been and will continue working to deliver on the potential new nanocrystalline cellulose applications and products.
Following the construction phase, under the joint venture agreement, Domtar and FPInnovations will explore the commercial viability of the production of nanocrystalline cellulose on a larger commercial scale.