Cascades invests in biorefinery project at Cabano plant

By Cascades Inc. | April 14, 2015

Cascades Inc., a leader in the recovery of recyclable materials and manufacturing green packaging products and tissue paper, is pleased to announce the company's investment in a new technology at its Norampac—Cabano facility. This innovative new process—a Canadian first—is used to extract hemicellulose, a cellulosic sugar with high value-added potential, from wood chips.

This project—worth a total of $26 million—represents a major advance in biorefinery development in Canada. Backed by a $10 million investment from Natural Resources Canada's Investments in Forest Industry Transformation 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, more environmentally friendly and economical one that was developed in conjunction with a U.S. partner.

This new process—the extraction of hemicellulose from deciduous woodchips—will replace the use of chemical products, which 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 facility's reduced environmental footprint will position Cabano to offer products that are even more environmentally friendly.

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 is once again pleased with this pioneering achievement in the areas of innovation and sustainable development, especially within the four walls of one of its original facilities," declared Mario Plourde, president and CEO. "This project represents a unique advance in biorefinery technological development. This new process will enable improvements in the efficiency and competitiveness of our Cabano plant's current corrugated paper production process, thus making existing jobs more secure."

"This investment is another example of how our government is helping Canada's forest industry bring innovative, high-value products to the marketplace, increasing Canada's global competitiveness and protecting jobs in the local community," declared the Honourable Greg Rickford, federal Minister of Natural Resources.

"This investment reflects the importance of the diversification of forest products for the industry and, at the same time, for various government jurisdictions. These are the kind of technological advances that will enable our forest industry to differentiate itself and that will also create prosperity for our regions," declared Laurent Lessard, Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks.