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Bio-refinery funding boost

Resolute Forest Products and Ottawa collaborate on green product research
Resolute TMP plant

A test kitchen to develop a new wave of value-added, green forest products in Thunder Bay received a $5.8-million funding kick-start from Ottawa.

The money will be used for FP Innovations to build a thermo-mechanical-pulp bio-refinery (TMP-Bio) demonstration plant at Resolute’s pulp and paper mill in the city’s south end.

Ottawa is contributing the $5.8 million through FedNor and Natural Resources Canada toward the $21-million project, a patented technology developed by FP Innovations, the federal forest industry’s research agency. Resolute Forest Products kicking in $3.5 million.

North American demand for pulp and paper is on the wane and the TMP-BIO process will be used to convert wood into a mixed sugar stream and a hydrolysis lignin (H-lignin) stream used toward future high-end, environmentally friendly products like polyurethanes, paints, plastics, and textiles.

"This project highlights the importance of investing in de-risking new technologies and products, and points the way for developing and delivering a transformative technology that contributes to the Canadian bio-economy,” said Stéphane Renou, president-CEO of FP Innovations, said in a statement.

“This project will help create opportunities to diversify the use of wood fibre into higher-value-added products,” added Resolute president-CEO Richard Garneau in a news release.

"Today's announcement is good news for the environment and presents an economic opportunity for Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario,” said Derek Nighbor, CEO, Forest Products Association of Canada.

“Our ability to continue to transform Canada's forest products sector by making new products that displace fossil fuel-intensive ones is not only going to help us fight climate change, but is also key to the future success of our mill communities.”

“Northern Ontario has a wealth of innovative thinkers and leading researchers and this project helps to demonstrate how their ingenuity is creating business opportunities and growing the local economy,” said Patty Hajdu, MP for Thunder Bay-Superior North and the Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Labour.