Squeezing more value from trees
- A solid forest resource base
- Pilot scale demonstration projects
- Bio-pathways Project Phase II
- Marketing wood's green attributes
- The power of better inventory tools
- Harnessing the collaborative power of academic R&D networks
Pilot scale demonstration projects
Research to application: putting good ideas to the test
An innovative product or process may show promise under research conditions and even in small-scale trials. But how well will it work at an industrial scale in the real world? Does the product show solid commercial value? Does the process offer productivity benefits?
Getting answers to these questions is exactly what the pilot scale demonstration projects are designed to do. As part of the push to transform Canada’s forest sector, these pilot projects are a key step in accelerating the assessment and development of next-generation products and services.
- evaluate the reliability of a newly developed technology
- optimize the performance of a product prototype
- test ways to further commercialize a production process.
The Pilot Scale Demonstration program
Under the Transformative Technologies Program (TTP), Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) launched the Pilot Scale Demonstration program, with FPInnovations delivering the initiative expressly to give TTP research developed in its laboratories a boost in the marketplace. In operational pilot plants in several regions of the country, emerging and breakthrough technologies, processes and products will be taken “live” so their use, effectiveness, risks and costs can be tested at an industrial level.
This strategy, delivered by NRCan in collaboration with the provinces and industry, is already making great strides. In the last two years, 15 pilot projects, all protected under patent, have been given the go-ahead.
A short list of examples highlights the range of innovative research-to-application projects now underway through the Pilot Scale Demonstration program:
- A plant being established at AV Cell’s pulp mill in Athollville, New Brunswick, will soon be evaluating a new technology for treating mill effluents. Not only is the new system expected to substantially improve efficiency over the existing treatment process, but it will allow some of the effluent to be converted into biogas that the mill can use in fuelling its operations.
- The nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) plant under construction at Domtar’s pulp and paper mill in Windsor, Quebec, will soon see Domtar turning hardwood chips and other forms of forest biomass into a range of high-value industrial and consumer products. The new facility is the first in the world to commercialize NCC technology at a large scale.
- At the Structurlam facility in Okanagan Falls, BC, a plant is being built to manufacture panels of cross-laminated timber (CLT). This product, made of layers of timber glued together under pressure, is already a popular construction material in Europe. Unusual about the Structurlam CLT project, however, is its plan to use beetle-killed pine and other softwood species (such as hemlock and balsam fir) that are generally little used. It promises to offer a win-win strategy: putting under-valued wood to good economic use and adding to Canada’s new and innovative line of “green” building products.