Q&A With Mark DeAndrea: Domtar’s BioMaterials Innovation Team
In search of a replacement for petroleum-based products and materials, the world is turning its attention to biomaterials. We spoke with Mark DeAndrea, vice president and business unit leader for Domtar’s BioMaterials Innovation team, about what the future holds for biomaterials.
Why is the BioMaterials Innovation team important to Domtar?
The world is transitioning away from one that depends on petroleum-based products toward one that will favor bio-based products. To do so, we need access to harvestable, sustainable, renewable biomass — the largest source of which is trees. According to the USDA Forest Products Laboratory, there are more than 22 billion metric tons of standing forest in the United States alone, growing at 2 percent annually. Approximately 1 percent, or 236 million metric tons, of that supply is harvested each year.
Think about it. Petroleum is derived from plant and animal matter that has been underground, under extreme heat and pressure, for millennia, slowly becoming fossil fuel. At Domtar, we can now achieve the same result in less than a day at a pulp mill, where we break down wood into cellulose, hemicellulose, lignin and extractives — materials that are renewable and managed sustainably, without releasing sequestered CO2 into the atmosphere.
Our BioMaterials Innovation team is looking for ways to leverage our asset base, including but not limited to our mills and our biomass supply chain.