West Fraser’s Hinton pulp mill will be the first in Canada to extract lignin from its black liquor recovery stream at commercial scale using the LignoForce process developed by FPInnovations and NORAM Engineering.
The technology has been operating successfully at a pilot-scale demonstration plant in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Initially, West Fraser will pursue the use of lignin as a renewable, natural replacement for certain glue components used in the manufacture of plywood and engineered wood products such as laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and oriented strand board (OSB). The company is an integrated wood products company producing lumber, wood chips, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp and newsprint. The Hinton pulp mill produces 370,000 tonnes per year of NBSK.
The lignin recovery project at the Hinton pulp mill will benefit from a contribution of $10 million from Natural Resources Canada under the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program.
The LignoForce technology can provide a kraft mill with a new revenue stream while increasing pulp production. FPInnovations’ research combined with NORAM Engineering’s commercial process and technology development resulted in an efficient, low-capital system capable of producing high quality, dry lignin.
“Lignin recovery offers the potential for high-value, bio-based chemical alternatives that could have wide application in industrial use,” said Ted Seraphim, president and CEO, West Fraser. “Developing high-value products from our existing production reinforces the competitiveness of our operations and supports rewarding careers in our business. We are excited to explore new markets and commercial opportunities for this novel, renewable bioproduct.”
Potential uses for lignin include: adhesives in wood products, a green chemical alternative, surfactants and binders, polyol in polyurethane foams, chemicals, thermoplastic composites, packaging, carbon black, activated carbon, dispersant/flocculant, epoxy resins, adhesive in foundry resins and adhesives in pellets.
Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO of FPInnovations, noted: “Programs such as IFIT are key to transforming research and development into innovative products that result in new markets and secure jobs for the forest sector. This project, a result of a significant collaborative effort between West Fraser, FPInnovations and NORAM Engineering, will once again position Canada as a world leader in developing new bioproducts using one of our most abundant natural resources.”