VIDEO | Domtar Sustainability: Everything About Biomaterials Is Looking Up!

Nov 29, 2017 9:15 AM ET

Before there was a word “biomaterials,” there were biomaterials.

Plants and trees play a key role in the balance of the earth’s atmosphere—by converting carbon dioxide
into oxygen. The earth’s atmosphere was once mostly composed of carbon dioxide, also known as CO2. Then plant life
developed, and used the sun’s energy, the atmosphere’s CO2, and water to produce carbohydrates to feed itself.

One of the by-products of this photosynthesis was oxygen. This process produced the atmosphere which ultimately
enabled us to flourish as human beings. Over millions of years, deposits of dead plants and animals accumulated and were eventually buried.

Pressure and temperature converted the carbon molecules in the biomass into what we now call fossil fuels: coal, oil, tar sands and natural gas. The CO2 that was once in our atmosphere was thus effectively trapped or sequestered underground.

Since the Industrial Revolution, we have tapped this concentrated fuel source to power our rapid progress. The problem is that when we burn fossil fuels, we are putting that sequestered CO2 back into the atmosphere. Dependence on fossil fuels is politically precarious in the short term, and unsustainable in the long term, as they are non-renewable—it’s a finite resource.

Luckily, along with renewable energy such as sunlight, wind, hydro, and geo thermal, there is a new alternative to fossil fuels, and it is responsible, renewable, above-ground, and it’s growing right in front of us - trees!

At Domtar, we can do in a few days what Mother Nature does in millions of years. Meaning, we can essentially convert biomass into fossil fuels like oil. As the world quickly moves towards a bio-based economy, away from fossil-fuel, we are in a position to lead the way.

To learn more about the exciting future of biomaterials, watch the video, “Everything About Biomaterials is Looking Up!”

For more inspiring stories about Domtar's sustainability efforts, please visit the Domtar Newsroom.