Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill, Thurso, Quebec. Dissolving pulp also known as specialty cellulose, is a chemically refined bleached pulp that has unique properties, including a high purity of cellulose and uniform molecular-weight distribution. Dissolving pulps are used in a wide variety of applications such as the production of textile fibres (rayon), acetate, cellophane, tire filaments, filters and various chemical additives. It is also used by pharmaceutical companies and the food industry as a binding agent.
The Fortress Specialty Cellulose Mill is located in Thurso Québec, 150 kilometers west of Montréal and is situated on approximately 800 acres of land. The company announced in December, 2011 that it had successfully completed the conversion of the mill from a former Northern Bleached Hardwood Kraft (NBHK) producer to a producer of dissolving wood pulp and commenced production. The mill employs approximately 326 workers and has a planned annual production capacity of ~ 165,000 tonnes (ADMT) of specialty cellulose also known as dissolving pulp.
The production of dissolving pulp involves the chemical extraction of the fibres from wood to obtain cellulose. Dissolving pulp is categorized into either rayon grades of dissolving pulp or specialty grades of dissolving pulp, based on its purity and other characteristics. Rayon is used in a variety of products including textiles, home furnishings, medical and surgical products and packaging materials in the textile industry. Rayon is considered to be a substitute for cotton with positive characteristics such as biodegradability and dye holding ability. Specialty grades of dissolving pulp are distinguished from rayon grades of pulp based on their levels of cellulose purity, as well as their brightness and viscosity. Fortress intends to initially focus its sales of dissolving pulp for the rayon industry with a geographic focus on markets in Asia.
In October 2013, a new biomass-based 24 MW cogeneration facility that produces green energy began supplying power to Hydro Quebec. Fortress Specialty has entered into an energy supply agreement with Hydro Québec to provide net 24 megawatts of green power through 2028 including incremental power increase through April 2040.