Cellulose and pulp fibre product development, evaluation, and improvement.

lnnoTech Alberta operates several pilot plant facilities capable of producing traditional wood pulps agricultural fibre pulps and more exotic materials such as nanocrystals and nanofibrils. We have several mechanical options for preprocessing materials and can conduct pulp piloting and testing, and have access to a Tornado Pulper System for wet fibre processing.

The fibre processing facilities lend themselves to a variety of applications such as:

  • Paper and paperboard coating
  • Reinforcing plastics
  • Medical, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical uses.

What is in this section?

Sections

Nanocellulose Capabilities & Pilot Plant
Nanocellulose Capabilities & Pilot Plant

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Pulp Piloting & Pulp Materials Testing (Wood & Agricultural Feedstock)
Pulp Piloting & Pulp Materials Testing (Wood & Agricultural Feedstock)

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Tornado Pulper System: Wet Fibre Processing
Tornado Pulper System: Wet Fibre Processing

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Decortication Plant
Decortication Plant

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Nanocellulose Capabilities & Pilot Plant

The Cellulose Nanocrystals (CNC) pilot plant can produce kilogram quantities of CNC from any fibres with high alpha-cellulose content. Regardless of cellulose feedstock, the pilot plant can produce CNC in various final forms, including spray-dried powder or in suspension at various concentrations. 

CNC has many useful properties, including great strength, optical characteristics, and very large surface area at the nano-scale, and can be used in a broad range of applications including drilling fluids, mining tailings mitigation, paints, industrial coatings, automotive components, building materials, and plastics and packaging. 

Cellulose Nanofibrils (CNF) are generally made from any type of celluose material, with wood pulp being the most common source. CNF is separated from wood-based fibres using high-pressure homogenizers, microfluidizers, or grinders. CNF has a high aspect ratio, with widths typically being measured in nanometers and lengths in micrometers. It is thick under regular conditions but becomes more viscous when agitated. 

Pulp Piloting & Pulp Materials Testing (Wood & Agricultural Feedstock)

Our capabilities and expertise at this facility include chemical and mechanical pulping, bleaching, and papermaking. Our pilot plant facilities allow our clients to replicate mill-scale processes and the facility can produce one to 10 kilograms of either chemical or mechanical pulps. Upon receiving the raw material, it can be screened, cleaned, and/or bleached to meet a target pulp grade specification. An industry-standard laboratory evaluates pulp for quality. 

Our facilities include woodchippers, various screens, atmospheric refiners, and hydro cyclone, which give the mechanical pulping and chemical pulping pilot plant the means to process the raw product from whole wood to final pulp product.  Materials that can be processed in the pilot plant include wood and various agriculture fibres, such as hemp, flax, and wheat straws.

Capabilities 

  • Product development and improvements
  • Process studies of non-wood fibres
  • Assessment of new technologies
  • Process simulation for proof of concept  
  • Bleaching, washing, and fractionation studies

Product Evaluation and Testing 

  • Well equipped TAPPI standard pulp testing lab for processing and testing of pulps 
  • Chemical pulp evaluations, including Kappa number and Klason Lignin
  • CT & H room equipped to perform standard pulp and paper evaluation tests  

A pressurized 45L reactor system for conducting pilot-scale chemical treatments including chemical pulping.  This system is capable of operating at temperatures up to 200°C and pressures up to 210 psi.  Its novel piping configuration and control program enables it to delignify both wood and non-wood (cereal straw, hemp, and flax) fibres with continuous liquor recirculation while preventing the extraction screens from plugging.

This reactor was designed to also be used as a pressure-controlled or temperature-controlled batch reactor in virtually any chemical processing application, including distillation and extraction. All process parts are made from 316 and 304 stainless steel, Viton, and TFE.

Other potential applications with this system include organsolv and specialty chemical extractions or reactions. 

This system’s components include a 70L liquor tank, recirculation pump, and 1 m² area heat exchange.  

Tornado Pulper System: Wet Fibre Processing

The Bio-Industrial Pilot Facilities & Operations teams offer facilities and expertise in biomass processing to chemically and/or mechanically treat feedstock and the Tornado Pulper Pilot Plant performs this processing in a wet state. 

Biomass material is conveyer-fed into a 4000l (3500l operation volume) Bolton-Emerson Model 24 TOR Tornado pulper configured with 24-inch plates.  The wet biomass de-watering system includes an Andritz sidehill screen that is followed by a Vincent CP10 10-inch screw press inline for further water removal.  Both have a 0.01-inch (approximately 0.25mm) slot size installed along with the option to set the system up with a 0.03-inch (0.75mm) configuration.  The flow across the de-watering system is between 200 to 300 l/min and the pilot plant can process up to 150-kg of feedstock.  It typically operates at ambient temperatures, but process water can be pre-heated to ~60C by low-pressure system injection in one of two 10,000l tanks within the plant.   

Depending on the product specifications, the Tornado Pulper System can be connected to an Andritz R-20 twin flow low consistency 20-inch refiner that can develop the biomaterial into mechanical pulp.  The nominal flow rate in this configuration is 1200l/min with typical energies between 120 to 170 kW.  

 

 

Decortication Fibre Processing Plant

InnoTech works with industry partners to fine-tune the decortication process in the only pilot-scale fibre processing and decortication plant in the world built on this scale.

Decortication Plant Details

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