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Finnish cellulose project enters second phase

EcoNote | June 19, 2015 | By:

Research to develop new biomaterial applications within the Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Cellulose (DWoC) 2.0 project has entered its second phase. The effort is coordinated by the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd., an Espoo-based research and technology company. Textile applications, such as 3D printing of cellulose, are being developed and the application of cellulose-based materials in the built environment is being studied. In addition to new materials and products, new types of textile manufacturing equipment and processes are also being developed, the group reports.

The DWoC project seeks new design-driven applications for cellulose and is developing related technology, as well as exploring new ways to create value in cellulose-based ecosystems. Such new materials and innovations can replace fossil-based raw materials in textile products, interior decoration elements and car interior materials.

“The government program emphasizes the importance of the bioeconomy for Finland’s future and economic renewal,” says project coordinator Johanna Buchert, vice president of research for VTT. “Renewal necessitates giant research-driven leaps, strong risk taking and national investment in research and innovation funding. Wood—the ‘green gold’ of Finland—is a renewable raw material, and wood cellulose can be converted to a golden opportunity when we find new high added value applications alongside the traditional paper and pulp industry.”

During the first phase of the project, various ways to combine design and materials research were tested. During the course of the project, yarn made directly from pulp fiber suspension was developed, for example; manufacturing was started by Spinnova Oy at the beginning of the year.

The future commercialization of new products and concepts is an important objective, VTT notes. The project will investigate formation of a network of enterprises around cellulose-based material.

The DWoC project, which began in March and runs through April 2018, has received 4.9 million euros ($5.5 million) in funding from Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. In addition to VTT, research partners in the project include Aalto Univerisity in Espoo, Finland; Tampere University of Technology of Tampere, Finland, and the University of Vaasa’s (Vassa, Finland) Department of Management.

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