CelluForce has restarted operations at its Cellulose NanoCrystals (CNC) plant following the completion of a major upgrade project. With a production capacity of 300 tonnes per year, this modernized plant will help meet the growing demand for CNC and serve as a blueprint for the design of future CelluForce plants.
The plant, the only one of its kind in the world was built in 2011 using a first version of the production process which had been brought to scale from laboratory work and small pilot trials. The new plant design, which is based on a series of improvement tests made in recent years, will allow CelluForce to:
Use improved new cutting-edge equipment to increase process efficiency by over 50%;
Stabilize production capacity at 300 tonnes per year;
Produce various grades of product required by some customers; and
Continue to develop new CNC-based applications by its research teams and its partners.
Rebuilding the CNC inventory
“In the past two years, our research work with industrial customers has confirmed the wide range of possible applications for CNC. It has also confirmed their growing interest in this new biomaterial. Without exception, these companies now seek to improve product performance and reduce their environmental footprint, two areas where CNC can make a significant difference” explained Sébastien Corbeil, President, and CEO of CelluForce. “This research has also had the effect of depleting the CNC inventory. The plant upgrade and restart are very timely so we can rebuild our inventory and continue to develop various industrial applications. It will also allow us to maintain our innovative leadership role in the industry.”
Several international industrial customers are currently waiting for this new production of CNC to continue developing their applications.
According to a recent independent study, the global market for nanocellulose, which was valued at US$285 million in 2018, should more than double to reach US$661 million in 2023 (a projected annual growth rate of 18.4%).
Known as an advanced biomaterial, CNC consists of infinitely small cellulose crystals that are extracted from wood and processed into a powder or a liquid suspension. CNC has several intrinsic and exceptional properties such as strength, suspension, lubrication and impermeability, which are the foundation for developing applications that can lead to new industrial products or sustainable consumer products.