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