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FPInnovations completes phase 1 of biodegradable disposable masks

Second phase is expected to lead to an entirely made-in-Canada solution for face coverings.

September 16, 2020   by PLANT STAFF

FPInnovations quickly completed the first phase of its mask project and successfully developed a biodegradable filter, made from sustainable wood fibres. (PHOTO: FPInnovations)

MONTREAL — FPInnovations has completed phase 1 of a biodegradable disposable face mask project, and is ready to begin the second phase which is expected to lead to an entirely made-in-Canada biodegradable solution.

During an eight-week applied research sprint and with financial support from Natural Resources Canada, the R&D organization focused on the forest industry, has developed a biodegradable cellulosic filter media, the middle layer of a three-layer mask. It’s made from sustainable wood fibres, and is suitable for single-use face masks. Current single-use personal masks are made from petroleum-based plastics.

Average filtration efficiency of the filter media is currently at 60%, surpassing the average efficiency of a typical cloth mask which is approximately 30%. FPInnovations’ research efforts now aim to further improve the efficiency of the media to meet requirements for surgical masks, which may lead to potential new uses of the filter medium, such as air filtration applications.

FPInnovation said the pulp and paper industry could meet Canada’s mask procurement needs within weeks without having to make changes to production lines and without needing large investments in new equipment.

The cellulosic filter media is made from a blend of hardwood and softwood fibres from Canadian forests.

Phase 2 follows with industrial and government partners collaborating on the project, which as a next step will develop a fully biodegradable, disposable mask, made in Canada from Canadian wood fibres.


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