Hexion Completes Expansion of R&D Facility in Edmonton, Alberta to Develop Bio-Based Resins for Wood Panels

13 October 2017

Hexion Inc. has successfully completed an expansion of its technology center at its forest products complex in Edmonton, Alberta. The expanded research and development facility is focused on developing next generation resin chemistry for panel production that will complement the Company’s existing EcoBind™ lower emitting resin technology and build on the inherent flame, smoke and toxicity (FST) retardant properties of our current resin systems.

The expanded lab, which has broad technical capabilities, is designed to improve velocity in commercializing new adhesive solutions. The lab will also focus on emerging phenolic resin technology that substitutes phenol with bio-based raw materials, such as lignin. An abundant, natural polymer, lignin is an organic material that has significant potential as an adhesive substitute in wood panel production. The new technology center will also accelerate Hexion’s ongoing focus on developing novel resin formulations designed specifically for the oriented strand board (OSB) market.

The new lab also leverages investments in lignin production by Alberta Innovates (AI) through programs such as Alberta Bio Future (ABF) which are designed to help diversify the Alberta economy by accelerating growth of the bioindustrial sector. The ABF program encourages the use of sustainable biomass, primarily from forestry and agriculture, in renewable bioproducts and technologies.

“Hexion is committed to innovation that improves the sustainability of engineered panel products,” says Mark Alness, Senior Vice President, Americas Forest Products. “This investment strengthens our long-standing presence in Edmonton, which is a key growth region for our global forest products business. The new Edmonton lab is ideally located considering its close proximity to key customers and is in line with Hexion’s ongoing commitment to develop new high performance resins for the OSB market. 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.”

In addition to state-of-the-art analytical equipment, Hexion has also invested in new panelboard press technology at the Edmonton lab to test the bio-based resins in an actual production environment due to the difficulty in working with natural feedstocks. The “pilot plant” is meant to mimic commercial production in a typical Alberta facility and demonstrate that the new resins and press, working in concert, can deliver the same or better panel properties as traditional materials.