In forestry, nothing goes to waste. As much as possible, we use every part of every tree we harvest – for example, one tree may provide lumber to build a house, wood chips for making paper, and bark and branches that can be turned into heat and energy.
In keeping with our philosophy on reducing waste and making the most of the forests we work with, we recently teamed up with Mercer International to launch a new venture, Performance Biofilaments. Our goal at Performance Biofilaments is to develop commercial uses for cellulose filaments, a biomaterial derived from wood fibre – which is, of course, a renewable, natural resource.
We’re excited about the possibilities – cellulose filaments can enhance the strength, stability, flexibility, and longevity of many different materials. They could end up in anything from lighter-weight, more fuel efficient vehicles to electronics to healthcare products. They’re versatile, durable and flexible. And best of all, cellulose filaments are completely renewable and have an extremely low carbon footprint.
Cellulose filaments are long, thin ribbon-like forms of cellulose which have been separated from wood fibres using a chemical-free process. This graphic will give you a better idea of what cellulose filaments look like.
As you can see, cellulose filaments are tiny! They’re measured in “nanometres”. For perspective, the diametre of a human hair measures 50,000 nanometres, while cellulose filaments are in the range of 50 nanometres.
Where do you think trees will take us next?