West Fraser has built the new plant at its pulp mill in Hinton, Alta. The state-of-the art facility will recover lignin from the pulping operation using a novel technology, and transform this wood byproduct into useful, environmentally friendly bioproducts, as the company says in the press release received by Lesprom Network.
The $30-million plant – made possible through joint funding by industry and government – began production in March.
Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions (AI Bio) awarded West Fraser a $3-million innovation grant. The provincial portion was leveraged with investments from West Fraser and federal government sources, including Natural Resources Canada and Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
AI Bio’s funding agreement with West Fraser includes a provision for the company to contribute $1.5 million into a “lignin research fund.”
How to develop the use of lignin
West Fraser will develop the use of lignin as a natural adhesive in its engineered wood products – as a renewable substitute for certain synthetic resin components currently derived from fossil fuels. Examples of other potential applications include green chemicals (bio alternatives to petroleum-based chemicals), thermoplastic composites (advanced mouldable materials), and packaging.