FP Innovations developing wood-fibre face mask
Montreal, Quebec – FPInnovations, a Canadian research centre, has successfully completed Phase 1 in its development of biodegradable disposable face masks, and is ready to begin the second phase which is expected to lead to an entirely made-in-Canada biodegradable solution for face coverings.
During the Phase 1 eight-week applied research sprint and with financial support from Natural Resources Canada, FPInnovations successfully developed a biodegradable cellulosic filter media.
The cellulosic filter media is the middle layer of a three-layer mask, is made from a blend of sustainable hard and soft wood fibres, and is suitable for single- use face masks for public use. Current single-use personal masks are made from petroleum-based plastics.
The average filtration efficiency of this new cellulosic filter media is currently at 60%, surpassing the average filtration efficiency of a typical cloth mask which is approximately 30%. FPInnovations’ research efforts now aim to further improve the filtration efficiency of the media to meet requirements for surgical masks, which may lead to potential new uses of the filter medium such as in air filtration systems.
The existing Canadian pulp and paper industry could meet the mask procurement needs of Canada within weeks without having to make changes to their production lines and without needing large investments in new equipment.
FPInnovations is now in Phase 2 of its research efforts collaborating with industry and government to ensure what it is developing and refining can be easily manufactured commercially.