Home PAPTAC 2018 PWC/BIOFOR Coverage Taking a stroll down Innovation Alley

Taking a stroll down Innovation Alley

PaperWeek 2018 and BIOFOR participants took a stroll through BIOFOR Innovation Alley, which provided a place to meet, discuss and exchange ideas on every aspect of the rapidly emerging forest bioeconomy.

The alley resembled both a trade show and a sophisticated poster session. With a combination of inviting areas to snack and rest alongside a dozen exhibition stands with representatives available to discuss and answer questions, Innovation Alley represented business of all sizes, research organizations, universities and consulting groups. Common to all exhibitors, however, was an in-depth knowledge of a specific area of specialization and an openness to engage in partnerships and collaborations. To be sure, a stroll down the alley provided invaluable opportunities for connection and learning, as stakeholders from all corners of the industry had an opportunity to meet.

Kruger Biomaterials FiloCell

With an exhibit of some of its most advanced technology to show off FiloCell's concrete applications, Kruger Biomaterials was keen to talk about the "revolutionary biomaterial made at the world's first cellulose filament demonstration plant," at the company's Trois-Rivières, QC Mill. Helen Lentzakis, Specialist, Application Development explained how Kruger plays a crucial role by investing in R&D and innovation and by developing new avenues for forest biomaterials in non-traditional industries. The technology she had on display is intended for very different industry sectors: automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, and others. With a background in the plastics sector, Lentzakis offered visitors a wealth of information on cellulose filaments' unique abilities and properties. "They can be an excellent reinforcing agent to optimize the properties of a wide range of products," she noted. Advantages include lighter weight as well as improved strength, stability, flexibility and resistance. At the moment, there are no commercialized products stemming from this technology but patience should triumph. Changing habits in traditional industrial sectors takes a good amount of time.

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When we encountered Armand Langlois of Enerlab he was expecting a visit any moment from Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, and so we didn't want to take up too much of his time! But Langlois was only too happy to describe his work for a few moments. Enerlab, a manufacturer of insulation products, is based in Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, QC. The company has been in operations since 1982 and specializes in the formulation and production of high-performance polyurethane foam systems and in the production of polyisocyanurate insulating boards and structural insulated panels. "We pride ourselves in delivering 'made-to-measure' products," explained Langlois ,who easily listed off a variety of applications for his company's technology including spray, injection, continuous and discontinuous insulation panels, moulded parts, etc. Polyisocynanurate insulating boards are used for walls or roofs.

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EnVertis Consulting

Represented by two of its four full-time consultants, EnVertis is an engineering consultancy created in 2010 by a group of academics who joined forces to support the forestry industry's efforts to identify and implement biorefinery strategies. Today, it offers more general business transformation strategies that "improve existing competitive positions while diversifying revenues."

Virginie Chambost, Principal Consultant at EnVertis co-founded the company. She explained that the group's consulting activities focus on defining market-based strategies to lead the forestry industry towards the identification of company-specific product portfolios. Frederic Clerc, a Project Manager for EnVertis described how the company uses a practical set of products and process design methodologies to systematically explore biorefinery and other opportunities in pulp and paper facilities. An engineer by training, Clerc highlighted the company's ability to implement successful biorefinery strategies by minimizing risks, by targeting mature supply chains and quality partners and by taking account of each company's culture.

Mathieu Régnier, Journalist,
Paper Advance


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