FPInnovations has announced inauguration of its new NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC) research facilities, which consist of a state-of-the-art pilot plant, new high-performance equipment for the Québec City laboratory and two new research laboratories located at Pointe-Claire.
The Pointe-Claire laboratories are dedicated primarily to NCC chemistry, as well as to NCC and nanocomposites characterization. The new laboratory equipment in Québec City is being used in the development of advanced wood materials in the appearance, structural and composite wood products sector.
The cost of the construction of the facilities and the acquisition of the research equipment amounts to $4.1 million.
This investment has been made possible thanks to the financial participation of the Ministère du Développement économique, de l'Innovation et de l'Exportation du Québec for 80% of the expenses and, Natural Resources Canada, for 20%, under its Transformative Technologies Program (TT).
'Our support for creation of the pilot plant and new crystalline nanocellulose labs demonstrates our commitment to making Québec a state-of-the-art centre for advanced research. Forthcoming R&D projects in these innovative facilities will build on Québec's leadership in the forest nanotechnologies sector and open the door to high-potential markets for Québec's wood industry, said Geoffrey Kelley, Member for Jacques-Cartier and Minister responsible for Native Affairs.
The project will make it possible to retain 11 full-time scientists and technicians dedicated to NCC research.
'Emerging technologies such as nanocrystalline cellulose hold the potential to transform the forest sector and create new, high-value opportunities in global markets,' said the Minister of Natural Resources Canada, Joe Oliver.
'The Government of Canada's investment in this project will help build on Canadian leadership in the commercialization of this exciting technology,' he added.
The properties of this material will provide totally 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.
The pilot plant, with a production capacity of 3 kilograms per day, contains equipment based on leading edge technology that ensures a rapid transfer of research results into industrial-scale production.
Automatic control measures for the equipment and prevention measures have been put in place in order to enhance product standardization and to respect the applicable standards for health and safety at work and the environment.
The main advantages associated with the new facilities can be found in:
- The production of NCCs in sufficient quantities allowing for a better response to the ever-increasing demand from FPInnovations research groups (for the study, among other things, of applications aimed at varnishes for wood floors, iridescent films and bioplastics), from external groups (such as universities, research networks and centres, e.g. ArboraNano - the Canadian Forest Nanoproducts Network), and from companies;
- The development of new grades of NCC beyond the ten or so that have already been identified;
- The scaling up of NCC modification procedures;
- Collaboration with the Domtar-FPInnovations joint venture in order to pave the way for the commercialization of NCCs.
'We are all working very hard to maintain our world-wide lead in NCC research and development. With its three kilograms per day, this small pilot plant will still be producing the largest quantity of NCC in the world', declared Pierre Lapointe, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations.
'We are building the future of the forest industry by focusing on the research and development of new applications, innovative products and new markets, and we will get there one success at a time', concluded Lapointe.
FPInnovations is a not-for-profit world leader that specializes in the creation of scientific solutions in support of the Canadian forest sector's global competitiveness and responds to the priority needs of its industrial and government members. FPInnovations' staff numbers more than 500 employees including research laboratories in Quebec City, Montreal, Ottawa, Thunder Bay and Vancouver