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Chemical-Free Process Boosts Paper Plant’s Competitiveness

CascadesCascades, which produces packaging and tissue products composed mainly of recycled fibers, has invested $26 million in a new chemical-free technology at its Norampac – Cabano facility.

The company says the biorefinery process used to extract hemicellulose, a cellulosic sugar with high value-added potential, from wood chips is a Canadian first.

Backed by a $10 million investment from Natural Resources Canada’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and an additional $4.4 million from the Québec Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, the Cabano plant will replace its current process — the production of sodium carbonate-based chemical pulp — with this new one, which will replace the use of chemical products that would otherwise have to be purchased, shipped and disposed of responsibly.

Another benefit is the plant’s reduced energy consumption, which will boost Cabano’s competitiveness, the company says. The facility’s reduced environmental footprint will position Cabano to offer products with less impact on the environmental.

Hemicellulose, a natural polymer found in plant cell walls, presents myriad opportunities ranging from power generation to biofuels such as ethanol, as well as the production of natural sugar-based value-added products.

Cascades last year exceeded its 2015 waste reduction target, recovering 72.8 percent of waste generated.

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