Ontario has traditionally enjoyed profitable forestry and fibre industries, with annual forest products valued at more than $11 billion. But as low-cost foreign fibre products threaten the Canadian pulp and paper industry, forestry stakeholders are turning to new technologies for value creation. Bioproducts such as wood-plastic composites (WPCs) represent exciting solutions. Recently released industry stats show an increased demand for these bio-based alternatives. Global markets grew from US$ 750 million in 2002 to US$ 2.1 billion by 2004 and industry analysts are predicting a demand of US$ 3.5 billion by 2009. Primary markets are for decking and railing but fencing applications are starting to be commercialized.
In Ontario, GreenCore Composites Inc. manufactures Green Inside™ pellets from wood and agricultural fibres. Injection molding processes transform the pellets into strong structural components for automobiles, chairs, electrical units and many other consumer products. Tembec uses by-products from its forestry operations in Canada and around the world to produce specialty resins and other industrial chemicals. Bio-based fibreglass could also see applications in Ontario, as well as flax-rich Western Canada. These North American biofibre products will experience high demand because they weigh and cost less than their glass counterparts.
The Ontario BioAuto Council is committed to supporting these and other markets in the auto parts, packaging and construction sectors. The bottom line is increased value for forestry products and innovative solutions to challenges in the industry.
Composites Innovation Centre Marketing Report:
Market Potential for Biofibres to replace e-glass in composite materials