Borregaard's Board of Directors has decided to invest in a facility for the production of Exilva microfibrillar cellulose (MFC). The plant will be built at the Borregaard site in Sarpsborg. The investment is estimated to NOK 225 million.
The project is based on new innovations related to the product itself as well as to the production process and the applications. Exilva MFC is based on natural and renewable raw materials. It has the potential to replace products derived from petrochemicals, and it also represents an opportunity to exchange organic solvent systems with water based solutions. In total this will lead to considerable positive environmental effects.
Borregaard's project to develop MFC started in 2005, and the R&D work has partly been carried out in a pilot plant. The development work has taken place in close cooperation with potential customers. The raw material, specialty cellulose, is split into a complex network of fibrils with the use of proprietary technology developed as part of the project. Exilva MFC has a unique set of characteristics, including rheology modification, stabilisation, texture modification and water retention. It can therefore find its way into valuable and novel applications in a variety of products such as adhesives, detergents, cosmetics, composites and other industrial formulations.
The commercial scale facility will have an initial design capacity of 1000 tonnes per year with a potential for expansion. Production is expected to start in the 3rd quarter of 2016.
"Borregaard is well positioned to develop microfibrillar cellulose. The company has a broad experience in the production of bio-chemicals based on natural raw materials, a strong competence base within R&D for specialty products, and a global marketing organisation directed towards customers in the chemical industry. If successful, this project has the potential to become a new and exciting business area for Borregaard", says President and CEO Per A. Sørlie.