Rewriting the Future of Paper

With more and more of us reading things on digital screens, the future of paper looks very bleak indeed. While trees around the world breathe a cautious sigh of relief, the paper industry is trying to find ways to change its fortune. At Fast Company, Ariel Schwartz informs us about a joint venture between Domtar (a paper company focused on environmental responsibility) and FP Innovations, formed with the goal of creating a new wood-based product that’s stronger than steel. 

The joint venture, dubbed CelluForce, will produce NanoCrystalline Cellulose (NCC)–a fancy name for the material that makes trees so strong. NCC is extracted from wood fiber at the nano level and manufactured into a usable product at CelluForce’s recently opened plant in Quebec. “You start with dry pulp, react it with certain chemicals, filter it, dry it, and the end product is a powder,” explains Jean Moreau, President and CEO of CelluForce.

NCC has four main applications: coatings (e.g. varnish, paint), textiles, protective films, and composites, such as car parts or bone replacements. Because of its infrared-blocking capabilities, NCC could be used to make glass opaque, which could be used in windows to reduce the need for air conditioning.

Now that’s smart.

(via Fast Company)

Photo: Jeff Power / Flickr

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