THUNDER BAY, Ont. — FPInnovations and Resolute Forest Products announced a significant investment in the implementation of a pilot project for the TMP-Bio process in Thunder Bay, Ont. The pilot project will focus on developing ways to efficiently produce and commercialize bio-chemicals derived from wood, contributing to the development of a bio-economy in Northern Ontario, as well as elsewhere in Canada.

Resolute is contributing $3.5 million and hosting the pilot project at its Thunder Bay pulp and paper mill.

TMP-Bio is a patented technology developed by FPInnovations with financial support from Natural Resources Canada’s Transformative Technologies Program. It can produce cellulosic sugars and high-quality H-lignin.

The $21 million project is part of an initiative to renew and transform the forest products industry, building on investments made in 2012 by Resolute, the Ontario Centre for Research and Innovation in the Bio-Economy (CRIBE), and Natural Resources Canada.

This investment announced on Jan. 22 covers cost of capital and R & D and has the support of the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), CRIBE, FedNor, the City of Thunder Bay CEDC and Natural Resources Canada.

Richard Garneau, president and CEO, Resolute Forest Products, said the company is pleased to continue its strategic partnership with FPInnovations by providing both a host facility and financial support to this venture. He noted that the project will help create opportunities to diversify the use of wood fibre into higher-value-added products.

According to FPInnovations, market interest for sustainably sourced green bio-chemicals and bio-fuels continues to build. The development and availability of significant quantities of bio-sourced chemicals, such as the cellulosic sugars and high-quality H-lignin produced by the TMP-Bio process, is a key step in growing new markets for the forest products sector by connecting it to the bio-chemical supply chain.

“Today’s announcement will help establish a fully functioning bio-refinery plant that will speed up the development, production and commercialization of green bio-chemicals derived from wood, helping companies diversifies and create jobs,” said The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedNor.

Reza Moridi, Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science, commented: “The world is looking for bioproducts made from sustainably-managed, non-food sources. Ontario is one of the largest biotech clusters in North America. By applying innovative solutions like the TMP-Bio Project, the forestry sector is creating new opportunities in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.”