Many promising companies struggle to turn prototypes into commercialized products, and in a rapidly changing global market place, the ability to commercialize potentially game-changing products and technologies is vital to long-term competitiveness of a thriving industry such as ours.
FPInnovations has illustrated this ability by receiving its first royalties from Sweden's Sandvik Materials Technology for composite tubing it developed called Sanicro 67®, which is used in mills and is an example of the limitless potential our innovations have.
Since the 1970s, recovery boilers around the world have been designed with composite tubes in the most corrosive lower-part of the furnace. The current demand for higher efficiency and safety in today's state-of-the-art recovery boilers has increased the requirements on the materials used. It is mainly in the most vulnerable positions that more corrosion resistance material is required: floors, airports and smelt spouts. The tubes in these positions are more extensively subject to thermal shocks and corrosive environments and higher demand is put on corrosion and cracking resistance.
The Sanicro 67® tubing is less likely to corrode or crack over time in harsh conditions. The composite tube consists of two different alloys metallurgically bonded together to achieve good thermal transfer properties. The external layer is used to withstand corrosion from the hot fireside of the boiler, while the inner layer is an approved pressure vessel material and is sized (in thickness) to safely contain the hot water and steam moving through the tubes. The tube was patented by FPInnovations and licensed to Sandvik, who now stock the composite tubes in standard sizes.
Four years of non-commercial testing have proved the capabilities of the tubes, and in 2014, the first 334 m of tube were installed on a commercial basis, which is equivalent to a total sale of 2.6 tonnes. The tubing is typically supplied to boiler manufacturers or maintenance companies for installations in their customer's mills. The first two installations were in modern pulpmills in Sweden, but since then, a Canadian pulpmill has also installed Sanicro 67® tubes in their kraft recovery boiler.
Additional smaller non-commercial orders have been fulfilled for test installations in other recovery boilers and in waste-to-energy boilers in France.
Innovation is at the very core of the transformation of any industry and FPInnovations believes that making a commitment to innovation and commercialization of high-potential products quickly is critical to growth in an extremely competitive global market. FPInnovations will continue to play a central role in bringing these opportunities to life, accelerating commercial-scale uptake and increasing receptor capacity.