The Hinton pulp mill has opened the first Canadian plant built to convert a sticky tree chemical from waste into a range of new environmentally friendly commercial products. Source: Edmonton Journal The $30-million facility attached to the West Fraser mill recovers lignin from the pulping operation in hopes of finding better uses for the compound, the natural binder that holds wood together. For decades lignin has simply been burned with other liquids to fuel pulp mill boilers, but those days might be over. The forest product company’s new facility will turn the lignin into a natural adhesive to help make plywood. The Can$30-million facility attached to the West Fraser mill recovers lignin from the pulping operation in hopes of finding better uses for the compound, the natural binder that holds wood together. For decades lignin has simply been burned with other liquids to fuel pulp mill boilers, but those days might be over, said Keith Carter, West Fraser’s vice-president of pulp and energy. “Industry has been looking for a way to extract the lignin so it can be used more profitably,” said Mr Carter. “We have done many trials and it’s very successful. We certainly see, initially, uses within our engineered wood product plants, but as time marches on we have had a lot of interest from other people.” The Vancouver company, which has two plywood plants and a laminated veneer operation in Alberta, initially hopes to make 30 tonnes of lignin a day in Hinton. That will add about a dozen jobs at the mill, which employs about 300 people. Some of the natural adhesive will displace petroleum-based resins, but other possible uses include packaging and mouldable material similar to plastic. The company could eventually open similar plants at other mills or boost output in Hinton. About Can$19 million of cost of the commercial demonstration plant was covered by federal and provincial government agencies, including Can$3 million from Alberta Innovates Bio Solutions. West Fraser must contribute Can$1.5 million to a lignin research fund. Chief executive Steve Price said in the past lignin was a “problem substance,” but developing the Alberta facility will help diversify the provincial economy. “Lignin byproducts have real potential to open new market opportunities for Alberta’s forest industry and contribute to the reduction of the carbon footprint in this province,” he said. The post First Canadian plant to use lignin appeared first on Timberbiz.
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