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CelluForce to explore oil and gas applications for nanocellulose

CelluForce has received a contribution of $4 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to optimize the extraction process of cellulose nanocrystals (also called nanocrystaline cellulose or NCC) from dry wood pulp and develop...


February 17, 2015
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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CelluForce is working with Schlumberger Technology

CelluForce has received a contribution of $4 million from Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) to optimize the extraction process of cellulose nanocrystals (also called nanocrystaline cellulose or NCC) from dry wood pulp and develop applications for its use in the oil and gas sector.

“World-class research led to the development of this ground breaking extraction process and placed Canada at the leading edge of NCC research,” stated René Goguen, acting president of CelluForce Inc. “This announcement by SDTC sets the stage for the pre-commercial development of applications that will not only support Canada’s forest sector but also the oil and gas sector, both of which are important drivers of the Canadian economy.”

CelluForce is a joint venture of Domtar Inc. and FPInnovations. It operates a nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) demonstration plant at the Domtar pulp and paper mill site in Windsor, Que. The demonstration plant began production in January 2012.

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This current project will further improve and optimize the process developed by CelluForce to extract nanocrystalline cellulose from dry wood pulp. In addition to improving the extraction process, this project will investigate additional applications for the oil-and-gas industry such as cementing using this renewable forestry resource.

According to the SDTC funding announcement, NCC may play a role in suspension methods for extracting oil out of the ground. These methods are currently limited as to where they can be applied. Under some conditions, traditional suspensions break down: valuable resources fall out of suspension and do not achieve their function, SDTC explains. When NCC is added to the suspensions, they remain cohesive even under extreme conditions. Moreover, the addition of NCC reduces the volume of water and pressure needed to carry out the extraction. The enhanced characteristics that NCC imparts to the suspensions should provide opportunities for extracting resources in areas where that is not currently possible.

CelluForce’s partner in this project is Schlumberger Technology Corp., a supplier of a wide range of services to the oil and gas sector.