Global manufacturer chooses Edmonton for key R&D program

Oct 17, 2017

Hexion Inc. optimistic it can commercialize bioproduct by 2018

A global manufacturer has chosen Edmonton as the site of a technology centre focused on the development of bio-based adhesive resins for wood panels. Hexion Inc. has successfully completed the expansion of the centre at its forest products complex in Edmonton in a strategic partnership with Alberta Innovates, Hexion announced in a news release on Oct. 13, 2017.

Hexion, based in Columbus, Ohio, has approximately 60 industrial facilities around the world that manufacture resins for a diverse range of applications and industries. Its Forest Products Division is the global leader in supplying resins and adhesives to the forest products industry.

Hexion received a $500,000 grant from the Alberta Bio Future (ABF) program to develop new panelboard press technology and commercialize a bio-based resin from lignin, a natural compound found in trees. Researchers in numerous countries are looking for ways to better utilize and add value to this byproduct of the pulping process.

Hexion has said it is optimistic it can commercialize a bio-based adhesive containing lignin by 2018. They will focus on “next-generation resin chemistry” at the Edmonton facility. Equipped with state-of-the-art analytical equipment, it says the “pilot plant” is meant to mimic commercial production.

Working with AI, we’ve aligned ourselves with a key strategic partner as we look to accelerate the development of engineered panel products that substitute lignin and other bio-based raw materials for phenol, which we believe will result in greater use of these renewable raw materials in the coming decade. Mark Alness, Senior Vice President, Americas Forest Products
Mark Alness, Senior Vice President, Americas Forest Products.

Having a global company choose Edmonton for a major R&D program is a win for Alberta’s innovation system, says Steve Price, AI’s executive director of bioindustrial innovation.

“We are here today to celebrate a facility that will further solidify Alberta as a bioindustrial innovation hub,” Price said, to an audience of about 100 people who attended Hexion’s dedication ceremony. “Because the bioindustrial sector holds such potential for our province, we are working to accelerate its growth by investing in products and technologies that utilize our sustainable, renewable resources.”

Hexion’s decision follows an earlier $3-million investment by Alberta Innovates in a first-of-its-kind lignin extraction plant at the West Fraser pulp mill in Hinton.