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FPInnovations and Resolute inaugurate biorefinery pilot in Thunder Bay

In Canada, FPInnovations, a not-for-profit forestry and forest industry research leader and forest industry major Resolute Forest Products, Inc., announced the commissioning of a new thermo-mechanical pulp biorefinery (TMP-Bio) in Thunder Bay, Ontario. With the capacity to treat 100 tonnes of biomass annually, the biorefinery pilot plant produces lignin and sugars for use in the development of downstream bioproducts, such as wood adhesives, animal feed, and biocomposites.

The inauguration was held on May 27, 2019, and was attended by Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament, Thunder Bay – Rainy River; Ross Romano, Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines of Ontario; Bill Mauro, Mayor of Thunder Bay; Remi Lalonde, Senior Vice President and CFO of Resolute Forest Products; Stéphane Renou, President and CEO of FPInnovations; Derek Nighbor, President and CEO of Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC); and many representatives of the Canadian forest products industry (photo courtesy Resolute Forest Products).

The organizations joined forces in early 2018 to build the plant at Resolute’s Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill, focusing on developing new ways to efficiently manufacture and market innovative wood-based biochemical products.

Innovation is an integral part of Resolute’s transformation strategy and long-term competitiveness. By hosting the biorefinery at our Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill, we are helping to develop sustainable bioproducts and to generate new employment opportunities in the forest products industry, said Yves Laflamme, President, and CEO of Resolute Forest Products.

The CA$23 million project is part of an initiative to renew and transform the forest products industry, building on investments by Resolute Forest Products, the Ontario Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE), and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan).

The project also has the support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, FedNor, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry, in addition to contributions in research and applications from the Québec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks and the Nova Scotia Innovation Hub.

Additional NRCan funding announced

TMP-Bio is a patented technology developed by FPInnovations for the commercial production of large quantities of bio-sourced chemicals, such as high-quality cellulosic sugars and H-lignin, and is a step towards opening up new markets for the forest products sector within the biochemical products supply chain.

On behalf of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay–Rainy River also announced CA$2 million of additional financing for the TMP-Bio pilot. This investment builds on the CA$5.8 million previously provided for the pilot facility to accelerate the development, production, and commercialization of green biochemicals derived from sustainably sourced Canadian wood.

Congratulations to FPInnovations and Resolute Forest Products on the official opening of the TMP-Bio plant. Ensuring our forestry sector remains strong and viable is important to our local economy and I’m pleased our government’s investment of CA$7.8 million has helped to bring this project to fruition. Northwestern Ontario is a hub for forestry innovation, and I look forward to seeing the results of this partnership and the positive impacts it will have on our growing bio-economy, said Don Rusnak, Member of Parliament for Thunder Bay – Rainy River.

The additional funding, provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Clean Growth Program, will support the development of the process by which FPInnovations converts wood sugars to biomaterials, which will help create a viable wood-to-chemicals industry that can help diversify the forest-based economy in rural communities.

FPInnovations is proud to be part of a project that will allow the Canadian forest industry to diversify its revenue streams while demonstrating its ability to innovate and transform itself. This project paves the way for a stronger bio-economy that will lead, in collaboration with our partners, to clean solutions and technologies that will benefit future generations. FPInnovations would also like to thank Natural Resources Canada for the additional funding announced today as part of their Clean Growth Program, said Stéphane Renou, President and CEO of FPInnovations.

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