Opening day for PaperWeek Canada 2014, Feb. 3, was intensely focused on research and innovation. FIBRE Day, featuring presentations by all the research networks of FIBRE, ran concurrent with the 4th International Forest Biorefinery Symposium.
PaperWeek Canada runs from Feb. 3 to 6 at in Montreal, at the Fairmont The Queen Elizabeth hotel.
During the FIBRE sessions, Makhlouf Laleg of ArboraNano discussed how fibrils combined with polymers could contribute to improving the strength and performance of packaging grades of paper and board. He noted that functionalization of the fibrils could reduce the drainage problems during formation that are typically associated with the addition of fibrils.
Cedric Briens, the leader of the Lignoworks network, noted that some of the researchers in this group have had early success creating carbon aerogels and “green” composites of lignin and PLA, which may be an alternative to thermoplastic elastomers. The group has also developed an energy-neutral pyrolysis process for kraft lignin, and is working on oxidation of bio-oil using air and base metal catalysts.
In the biorefinery sysmposium, Maria Wellisch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada brought participants up to date on an international task force looking into sustainable biomass supply chains. Warren Mabee of Queen’s University discussed his analysis of material flow and markets as they relate to the development of a Canadian forest biorefinery sector.