Pulp and Paper Canada

Features Innovation Technology
ArboraNano launches nine projects to develop products using nanomaterials

ArboraNano has announced the launch of nine new research and development (R&D) projects targeting innovative paper grades, improved foams, and nanocomposite developments using forest nanomaterials. Seven of these projects will focus on the...


May 10, 2011
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Topics

ArboraNano has announced the launch of nine new research and development (R&D) projects targeting innovative paper grades, improved foams, and nanocomposite developments using forest nanomaterials. Seven of these projects will focus on the use of non-toxic and environmentally-friendly nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC).

The projects are to be carried out over the next two years by industrial scientists and engineers from the pulp and paper, automotive, machinery and engineering sectors, as well as researchers from Canadian universities and Canadian research institutes.

Kruger, Bio Vision Technology Inc., Groupe Laperrière & Verreault Inc. (GL&V), Woodbridge Foam Corporation, Tembec, Noram Engineering and Constructors Ltd., and FPInnovations are the industrial partners involved in the projects. Provincial agencies supporting this work include the Government of Alberta Strategic Research Program on NCC Applications, Alberta Innovates- BioSolutions, the Ontario Bio-Auto Council and NanoQuebec. Academic and institutional partners include the University of Alberta, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières (UQTR), Université Laval, University of British Columbia, Université du Québec en Abitibi-Témiscamingue (UQAT), McGill University, and the Nanotechnology Institute for Nanotechnology (NINT).

Advertisment

“So far, ArboraNano has been working on some very promising projects with partners in the oil and gas, printing, and wood coatings industries,” says Ron Crotogino, president and CEO of ArboraNano. “The addition of these nine new projects clearly reflects our strong commitment to encouraging cross-sector R&D in support of the development of global competitive products by Canadian manufacturers, and to revitalizing the Canadian forestry sector,” he continued.

ArboraNano’s contribution to these projects totals $3.35 million with matching contributions from industry and provincial organizations.

Among the projects recently launched with pulp and paper partners, three will focus on creating “greener” paper grades, paperboards and coatings with performance properties that will compare favorably to existing products. More specifically, one project aims to create new paper grades from mechanical pulp by maximizing retention of nanomaterial on the surface of paper. Another project is seeking to substitute fossil fuel-based latex with NCC in coatings formulations for lightweight coated paper. A third project strives to reduce weight and fibre consumption by reinforcing paperboard packaging using cellulose nanofilaments. The fourth project will be investigating the manufacture of nanoporous paper membranes with applications in various industrial sectors.

The goal of the two recently launched projects in the automotive industry is to develop performance-enhancing additives used in the manufacture of polyurethane foam and construction products.

The creation of novel nanocomposites is a key area of research for many of ArboraNano’s industrial partners. Two new projects aimed at supporting the development of nanocomposites have been launched. Multi-scale modeling of the structure and thermodynamics of chemically modified NCC will be used to obtain a rational design of NCC-based nanocomposites, gels, and foams. Another project will develop new approaches to customize the compatibility of NCC with a variety of polymer matrices. A third project will seek to improve the properties of wood finishing oils through the addition of various nanoparticles.

According to ArboraNano, Canada currently has an 18- to 24-month global lead in the commercial production of NCC as a one-ton/day demonstration plant located in Windsor, Quebec enters the final phases of construction. Startup is planned for autumn 2011.

Nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) and cellulose nanofilaments (CNF) are also wood-derived nanomaterials.

ArboraNano is a not-for-profit network made up of members representing multiple business sectors, universities and non-profit organizations.