DRAYTON VALLEY, AB - Tekle Technical Services has been awarded $4.5 million from the Canadian government to support the manufacture of engineered biocomposite fiber mats from wood waste for use in automotive parts and other end uses.
The funding from the Economic Action Plan 2010 will help drive Tekle's Biocomposite Group's new start-up plant to use a unique Canadian-developed process to make lightweight, renewable biocomposite fiber mats. The mats are vacuum formed combining wood fiber mixed with a small amount of polyester resin that binds the wood when it is heated in molds. Car door panels, trim and other parts can be compression molded at the plant.
According to the Edmonton Journal, equipment was most recently used in a former experimental Canfor plant in Vancouver to make door panels from cedar wood fibers. The Biocomposites Group is being run by Doug Madlung, a former Canfor manager, according to the newspaper.
Audi is reportedly among car makers interested in the wood fiber mats. Biocomposites Group has contracted TechStyles Inc., to serve as its sales representative of the North American automotive industry. In addition to wood, the company plans to experiment with other biocomposite materials, including hemp.
The Economic Action Plan was created to help bring advanced technologies out of laboratories and into industrial facilities. The Biocomposites Group, under the auspices of former Canfor manager Dan Madlung, is a prime example of an effort to bridge the gap between the scientific community and industrial commerce.
Other projects recently receiving Economic Action Plan funding include:
• $6.75 million to Millar Western Forest Products Ltd. of Whitecourt, AB, to generate green energy from pulp mill effluent by using innovative anaerobic hybrid digester technology;
• $4.9 million to Tolko Industries of Meadow Lake, SK, to become the first facility in North America to produce specialty- and commodity-oriented strand board (OSB) products on one production line; and
• $2.0 million to Structurlam of Okanagan Falls, BC to install technology and equipment to manufacture the EcoStructure Wall System, a new cross-laminated timber product that provides a renewable alternative to more traditional, energy-intensive building materials such as concrete and steel.
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