Before launching into the news about its manufacturing plant, here’s a little information about the company itself, CelluForce, a joint venture between FPInnovations and Domtar, from the About CelluForce page,
The company is a joint venture of Domtar Corporation and FPInnovations and was created to manufacture NCC in the world’s first plant of its kind, located in Windsor, Québec.
Members of the board, management and employees of CelluForce are pleased to announce the end of the construction phase and the start of operations at the first manufacturing plant for NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC) in the world.
For the last eight weeks, CelluForce has been progressively starting up the equipment for the first ever large-scale production of NCC. The nanomaterial will be produced in state-of-the-art facilities located at Domtar’s pulp and paper plant in Windsor, Quebec. Construction extended over a fourteen-month period. It required a total investment of $36M including the financial participation of both the Federal and Québec governments. The company is particularly pleased to have completed construction phase on time.
CelluForce President and CEO Jean Moreau declared, “Wood pulp is being delivered to the plant to test the new equipment and we are making progress on a daily basis. NCC will start to be produced by the end of the year, with production gradually increasing until it reaches a steady rhythm of 1,000 kg per day in 2012”.
For anyone who’s unfamiliar with NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC), I posted an interview with Dr. Richard Berry of FPInnovations who kindly answered some very basic questions on NCC in my Aug. 27, 2010 posting.
The opening of the CelluForce manufacturing plant is very exciting news given that Canadians have a worldwide lead in this research area. Being able to produce NCC in amounts that are meaningful at an industrial scale will make research easier not just in Canada but elsewhere too.
From the news item on Nanowerk,
CelluForce will, on a worldwide basis, market NanoCrystalline Cellulose for strength applications under the CelluForce Impact™ brand, and for optical applications of NCC under the CelluForce Allure™ brand.
I don’t think this video adds much information but it is very slick and entertaining,
Here’s a listing of applications that NCC can be used to produce (from the CelluForce Applications page),
NCC’s properties and many potential forms enable many uses, including:
- Biocomposites for bone replacement and tooth repair
- Pharmaceuticals and drug delivery
- Additives for foods and cosmetics
- Improved paper and building products
- Advanced or “intelligent” packaging
- High-strength spun fibres and textiles
- Additives for coatings, paints, lacquers and adhesives
- Reinforced polymers and innovative bioplastics
- Advanced reinforced composite materials
- Recyclable interior and structural components for the transportation industry
- Aerospace and transportation structures
- Iridescent and protective films
- Films for optical switching
- Pigments and inks
- Electronic paper printers
- Innovative coatings and new fillers for papermaking
One of the most notable attributes of this material is that it can be used to form iridescent coloured films that can be adjusted precisely, making it possible to revolutionize many applications, including, among others;
- Security papers
- Iridescent pigments
- Switchable optical filters and barriers
I hope to hear more about CelluForce and its efforts with NCC.
On a somewhat related note, I wonder what’s happening with the NCC efforts in Alberta? I noted in my July 5, 2011 posting that an NCC pilot plant was being opened in that Canadian province but I haven’t heard anything since.
I also noted that there is going to be a session titled NanoCellulose: An Abundant, Sustainable, Versatile Biopolymer at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) annual meeting in Vancouver this February 2012 featuring a researcher from Alberta.
Here’s the session description and speakers,
Saturday, February 18, 2012: 3:00 PM-4:30 PM
Room 220 (VCC West Building)
Nanocellulose is a generic name for a new family of novel fibrils derived from plant cell walls or bacteria. Just as cellulose has been an abundant natural resource for millennia with substantial contributions to the development of civilizations, the unique nanocelluloses are sustainable biopolymers poised to have a major role in improving the quality of human life in this century. A rapidly expanding field of nanocellulose science has emerged with pioneering results, leading some to predict that the field could parallel history, where the 1920s studies on cellulose contributed to the discovery of polymers and led to the origin of polymer science. Fibrillated, crystalline, and bacterial nanocelluloses have unsurpassed versatility and strength for composite materials, films, medical implants, drug delivery systems, and a biomaterial rivaling Kevlar, which is made from fossil fuels. With cellulosic biofuels becoming a competitive alternative to fossil fuels, research in enzymology is targeting high-value nanofibrillated cellulose as a biofuel co-product. This symposium will present current findings that bridge multidisciplines, from genomics of tree and plant breeding, plant cell wall structure and function, advanced techniques for characterizing cell walls and nanocellulose, and specialized methods for isolating nanofibrils, to novel biomaterials. The speakers represent three international science and technology centers at the forefront of this new wave of cellulose research.
Barbara Illman, U.S. Forest Service
Barbara Illman, U.S. Forest Service
Theodore Wegner, U.S. Forest Service
A World View of Nanocellulose
Nils Petersen, National Research Council Canada
Nano-Scale Devices for Nanocellulose
Ali Harlin, VTT Technical Research Center of Finland
Nanocellulosic Technologies: A Success Story
It looks interesting but I would have liked to have heard from an FPInnovations researcher and the Brazilian researchers who are working on nanocellulose fibres from pineapples and bananas (my Mar. 28, 2011 and June 16, 2011 postings) and Israeli researchers who are working on NCC foams (my Aug. 2, 2011 posting). These panels are always difficult to organize as you try to get everyone in the same room at the same time although the panel does seem to be focused on wood products as a source for NCC. (If you search Ali Harlin on LinkedIn, you’ll find paper and wood products are Harlin’s area of expertise.)
I notice Nils Petersen, one of the speakers, who in addition to being a National Research Council (NRC) scientist is also the Director General for Canada’s National Institute of Nanotechnology located in Alberta.