Norske Skog pursuing microfibrillated cellulose
By Cindy Macdonald
Norske Skog has been granted NOK 6.5 million from Innovation Norway for two projects – the further development of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and the development of fibreboard.
Innovation Norway has already funded a pre-built pilot plant for MFC-production at Saugbrugs, which will open later this year. This plant has a capacity of about 1 ton per day.
The main purpose of the MFC-project is to develop MFC from thermomechanical pulp (TMP). The pilot project is budgeted at NOK 18.4 million (about C$2.8 million) of which Innovation Norway’s funding share is NOK 4.5 million (about C$700,000).
Norske Skog expects microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) will enhance paper-based products. In addition, the company says, MFC can over time be developed as a replacement for plastic products, as well as a thickening substance in various products such as paint.
“If we succeed in producing MFC with this technology and use it in our paper production, this could reduce our costs and make us more competitive in the future. At the same time, the MFC competence will be useful for the entire group,” says Sven Ombudstvedt, president and CEO of Norske Skog.
According to Norske Skog, research and production of MFC has so far been based on chemical cellulose pulp (sulphate and sulphite pulp). Only a handful larger production facilities exists. Production of MFC from thermomechanical pulp (TMP) is entirely new.
Norske Skog has also received NOK 2.0 million (about C$300,000) in funding from Innovation Norway to develop fibreboard. Preliminary test results show the boards to have a solid structure, light weight and excellent insulation capabilities. The project funding will cover the building of a pilot plant to develop necessary production techniques to realize full-scale production of the new fibreboards. The boards will be tested and developed in collaboration with potential customers in the construction industry.