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Domtar receives $28.8M from feds to improve fibre tech for plastic alternatives


July 23, 2019
By P&PC Staff

July 23, 2019 – The federal government has announced a $28.8 million investment in Domtar Inc. to support its $57.5 million project to implement new equipment and processes at its pulp and specialty paper mill in Espanola, Ontario.

Domtar’s project will involve commercializing its patented new “Stealth Fiber Technology,” which will produce stronger paper and allow for the production of innovative products that could replace single-use plastics when it comes to, for example, medical packaging and food wrap.

According to Domtar’s website, Stealth Fibre Technology liberates the fibrils from the wood fibre, improving fibre-to-fibre bonding ability, which in turn increases tensile and bond strength. Converters can then run lighter basis weights with the same or better sheet performance or yield. Since the fibres conform more easily, they improve sheet formation, and the paper’s ultimate barrier or holdout properties increase.

In a release, the government says the innovations will increase Domtar’s competitiveness in the global market, reduce waste from production, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 48,000 tonnes annually at the Espanola Mill – the equivalent of removing 16,000 cars from roads.

Thanks in part to this investment, Domtar will maintain 430 jobs. The company will invest more in research and development and will develop a diversity and gender equity plan to engage with women and Indigenous communities. Additionally, upgrades to the Espanola Mill will improve air quality and reduce noise pollution for the people living in and around Espanola.

“We are pleased to partner with the government of Canada on this important initiative to upgrade the Espanola Mill’s infrastructure and improve its environmental performance, says Michael D. Garcia, president of Domtar’s pulp and paper division, in the release. “This investment will help the mill deliver technical innovation to produce products that could help reduce the use of single-use plastics.”

Domtar, which was incorporated in Canada in 1929, runs four pulp and paper production facilities in Canada.

This investment is being made through the government’s Strategic Innovation Fund, a program designed to attract and support business investments in Canada’s innovative sectors. The Strategic Innovation Fund includes a $100 million envelope focused on providing support to the forest industry.