Nanocellulose Pilot Plant for Nanocellulose at Campus in the Netherlands

Editor: Constanze Schmitz

Sappi is proceeding with a pilot-scale plant for low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils production. The plant will test the manufacturing of dry re-dispersible Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) and determine options for commercial production

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Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology, Sappi Limited: “The pilot plant will help with Sappi’s move into new adjacent business fields based on renewable raw materials.
Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology, Sappi Limited: “The pilot plant will help with Sappi’s move into new adjacent business fields based on renewable raw materials.
(Source: Sappi)

Johannesburg/South Africa, Brussels/Belgium — Sappi, a global producer of dissolving wood pulp and graphics, speciality and packaging papers, announced that it will build a pilot-scale plant for low-cost Cellulose NanoFibrils (nanocellulose) production. The plant will be built at the Brightlands Chemelot in the Netherlands, a R&D and teaching campus focused on performance materials, biomedical materials and bio-based materials. It will test the manufacturing of dry re-dispersible Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) and determine options for commercial production. The pilot plant is expected to be operational within nine months.

Commenting on the decision, Andrea Rossi, Group Head Technology, Sappi Limited, explained that the pilot plant will help with Sappi’s move into new adjacent business fields based on renewable raw materials. The raw material for the pilot plant would be supplied from any of Sappi’s Saiccor, Ngodwana and Cloquet dissolving wood pulp plants. The pilot plant is the precursor for Sappi to consider the construction of a commercial CNF plant.

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He goes on to say: “The pilot plant will test the manufacturing of dry re-dispersible Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF) using the proprietary technology developed by Sappi and Edinburgh Napier University. The location of the pilot plant at Brightlands Chemelot Campus provides Sappi with easy access to multiple partners with whom Sappi will seek to co-develop products that will incorporate CNF across a large variety of product applications to optimise performance and to create unique characteristics for these products.”

Speaking on behalf of Brightlands Chemelot Campus, the CEO Bert Kip said “We’re proud that a globally leading company like Sappi has chosen our campus for their new facility. The initiative perfectly fits with our focus area on bio-based materials and our new pilot plant infrastructure.”

Math Jennekens, R&D Director at Sappi Europe who is the project coordinator and will oversee the pilot plant, said “We are very excited to be able to move from a bench top environment into real-world production. Our targeted run-rate will be 8 tons per annum. We will produce a dry powder that can be easily redispersed in water. The nanocellulose is unmodified which makes it easier to combine with other materials. The product will be used to build partnerships to test the application of our nanocellulose across the widest range of uses.”

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