Collaboration as key enabler in the creation of new and sustainable bioproduct value chains

Collaboration as key enabler in the creation of new and sustainable bioproduct value chains

Blog 13.04.2021

In this blog, Risto Sormunen, Fortum Bio2X, Head of Program Funding, discusses how Fortum will continue to elaborate product ideas and concepts previously identified, developed, and tested in the ForBest project, especially based on straw fractions, together with selected partners. The development and commercialisation of new materials require the development of existing value chains and their components, as well as carefully combining elements from different value chains to find novel solutions.

Straw as a significant raw material for bio-based products

The application of scientific knowhow and research results to industrial scale solutions and processes, plays an important role in the ExpandFibre project. The knowledge and careful application of regional regulations and laws are integral components for the successful development of materials and value chains as well.

Above all, Fortum will seek to find new and previously completely unidentified product paths. Straw is industrially very underused, even though it provides a globally significant raw material supplement to the production of bio-based products to replace fossil-based or otherwise environmentally unsustainable raw material sources.

The aim is to focus on the products closest to commercialisation and apply them into the first European commercial-scale investment project to be developed alongside the ExpandFibre project. In ExpandFibre, Fortum continues to focus on the further development of product areas and technologies that require extensive research, as well as on the identification of completely new product areas and technologies.

Financial project support can be used to accelerate the development further as it enables  the production of larger quantities of more homogeneous fractions for the needs of several development lines and partner networks, as well as for the usage of further research and development activities. Larger experimental batches are also essential to manage and ensure the feasibility studies and risks related to the industrial runnability and processability of new fully bio-based raw materials. Such new materials, especially in the case of ExpandFibre, almost always involve the development of more than one technological solution such as the closing of chemical cycles via integration.

To address the aforementioned challenges, the Veturi project funding for leading companies and the associated ecosystem funding components are very likely to make a crucial contribution to building the long-term innovation ecosystem needed to support the commercialisation phase. This can ensure, not only the creation, but also the long-term continuation of competitive advantages in all key product areas.

Finnish sustainable textile manufacturing technologies among the best in the world

The new sustainable textile manufacturing technologies being currently developed in Finland are among the world's leading and most respected technological approaches for the future of more sustainable textile products. In regard to sustainable textile fibers, Fortum's vision is to be a manufacturer of new, ecologically sustainable straw-based textile fibers through manufacture licensing.

The aim is to secure a unique and new type of straw-based raw material with superior material efficiency and thus an exceptional competitive advantage alongside future players also using field biomass based raw materials. In addition, pioneering development work is being carried out internationally in the areas of various composite, cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin-based new applications. Thanks to their own projects, the Veturi companies are at the forefront of this development and work in close collaboration with all major Finnish developers. Indeed, a significant competitive factor is that the collaboration covers the entire development cycle from academic research to applied and always commercialised product development, and the scale extends from the theoretical level all the way to the laboratory, pilot, and demonstration phases. With the Veturi project, it is possible to strengthen this competitive advantage even further with a large-scale ecosystem project.

More information
Bio2X – High-value products from biomass