Cégep de Trois-Rivières
Eco-design for a Circular Economy of Thermoformed Cellulosic Pulp Packaging
Industrial Research Chair for Colleges
Chairholder since 2019
The Chair objective is to develop a Canadian expertise in cellulosic fibre moulding and thermoforming for the development of 100% biodegradable cellulosic pulp packaging made for different retail applications such as hygiene and food service. The Chair program aligns to the industrial partners’ strategic plans, business needs and ongoing work. The common objective of the team is to provide technical answers to eco-design and circular economy concepts, new materials, new process development, proof-of-concepts, prototypes, pilot trials, products performance testing and certification. The Chair will develop new circular economy models for innovative cellulosic 3D pulp packaging and meet the innovation needs of all partners. The Chair encompasses three applied research areas: cellulosic materials, process and technology, functionality and end-of-life. The Chair holder Dr. Tarik Jabrane is a visionary leader. He shares the vision of promoting the use of compostable moulded pulp products in our daily life, by bringing people, materials, ideas, and plans together to reach the Chair projects deliverables. The team led by Tarik Jabrane is the only research team in the world that has developed the capacity of research, development and manufacturing of thermoformed cellulosic pulp in real industrial conditions using an industrial pulp thermoforming equipment. This includes the multidisciplinary expertise in cellulosic fibres, pulp treatment, wet-end chemistry, fibers chemical modifications, performance testing of 3D thermoformed pulp products, with a strong statistical analysis background of the influence of raw materials properties and thermoforming process parameters on the properties of thermoformed pulp products.
Today, new product development is very rapid, and retailers see new market niches at lightning speed. Besides, the research model of today is based on collaboration, as in-house research hardly exists in the industry, except for large companies that keep secret their results. In such a scenario, the collaboration between the industrial partners on executing the Chair activities is very innovative and helpful. This close collaboration promote technology transfer, save time, money, and help all industrial partners in the eco-design of their commercial applications, which is highly valuable for new product and market developments. A team of 40 researchers, technicians, teachers and students from Innofibre of Cégep de Trois-Rivières surrounds the Chair. The Chair activities will be successfully carried out using the team’s solid expertise in cellulosic products, using state-of-the-art laboratory and pilot installations, and a unique pulp thermoforming system. At least fifteen College students will be shadowing senior technicians and participate in laboratory work.
The retail industry is the external environment of the Chair and Canada’s top employer. The demands of shoppers today have led to a tsunami in the retail, packaged goods and food service marketplace. Since 2018, several leading brands, retailers, and packaging companies have announced their ambitious goals of using 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging reachable by 2025. In this context, the Chair aims to become a strong Canadian leader in the eco-design of innovative packaging solutions for the Canadian retail industry to replace single use plastic materials, and reduce human impact on ocean and environment pollution. This Chair will contribute to the creation of new circular economy business models that will create businesses and jobs of the future, maintain existing jobs, while reducing the Canadian packaging impact on our environment. This will contribute to the economic health of the Canadian retail industry that is actually reinventing itself to adapt to new shoppers demands (Omni-channels customer experience, e-commerce, food service and retail trends, circular economy trends, smart packaging).
- Éco Entreprises Québec
- Hygie Canada inc.
- Restaurant Le Grec inc.
- Domtar inc.
- CKF inc.
- Pulp Moulding Dies inc.
- Gesterra inc.
Cégep de Trois-Rivières