The ExpandFibre annual public seminar celebrated a successful first year and showcased what the future holds for the EcosystemEvent News
The second ExpandFibre annual public seminar celebrated the first year of the ExpandFibre Ecosystem on the 3rd of November and invited both the members of the Ecosystem and the ones interested in the Ecosystem to learn and share ideas together. The event attracted more than 120 participants from multiple organisations to join the conversation. The seminar highlighted the ongoing ExpandFibre Programmes, introduced new and exciting projects from the ecosystem, and hosted thought-provoking pitching and brainstorming workshops.
The event began with an overview of the current Ecosystem status presented by Katariina Kemppainen from Metsä Spring and Heli Virkki from Fortum. In just one year, ExpandFibre has grown into a global ecosystem comprising of small and large companies, universities, and RTOs. These partners are currently participating and organizing 10 projects that work within the ExpandFibre themes. After the overview, the participants were introduced to Business Finland’s partnership funding opportunities for Ecosystem members. An introduction of the funding program was presented by Tuomas Lehtinen from Business Finland.
Teija Laitinen from CLIC innovation concluded the first part of the event with an introduction to 4Recycling and the possibilities it offers to the members of the ExpandFibre Ecosystem. 4Recycling is an open innovation ecosystem that CLIC innovation is coordinating to tackle the plastic challenge.
Three currently ongoing projects in the Metsä and Fortum ExpandFibre Programmes were highlighted at the seminar offering a look into the status of the projects and the achievements they have already acquired. Jarkko Tuominen from Metsä Spring began with a presentation focusing on the technology development and piloting of a 3D fibre-based packaging product.
Päivi Lonka from Fortum continued with a presentation on a joint Metsä-Fortum project focusing on textile fibre development. Axel Hinderer from Fortum concluded the section with a peek into a project on sustainable sourcing of straw.
Pitches showcased new ExpandFibre Ecosystem projects
Four introductory pitches showcasing new ExpandFibre projects were held, introducing to the participants what is happening in the near future of the Ecosystem. Tiina Pajula from VTT introduced the project of Carbon neutrality empowered by Handprint that aims at building a framework for companies to help them show climate neutrality and the positive environmental impacts of circular economy solutions.
The second project to be highlighted was the Future of Nonwovens (FoN) project introduced by Taina Kamppuri from VTT. Tomas Björkvist from TUNI followed with an introduction to project HydBondCell that focuses on the control of hydrogen bond formation in cellulose structures. Finally, Marko Mäkipää from VTT gave the participants a glimpse into the Numobio project that centers around advanced numerical modeling for rapid development of biocomposite applications.
Pitching/workshops led by various organisations
The participants of the event also got a chance to participate in pitching and brainstorming workshops. Everyone had an opportunity to attend two different sessions from a total pool of five topics related to the goals of the ExpandFibre Ecosystem. The workshops were arranged by the following presenters and organizations:
- Miika Nikinmaa from Suominen on nonwoven textiles outlook
- Henna Knuutila from Rester on building a textile recycling plant
- Juha Ahola from University of Oulu on project idea related to hemicellulose valorisation
- Ali Tehrani from Aalto University on textile post-treatments
- Detlef Schmiedl from Fraunhofer and Peter Lingenfelter from Prefere Resins on lignin valorisation
The exciting event concluded with closing words from Katariina Kemppainen and Heli Virkki and with summaries from the workshops. The event showcased well what the ExpandFibre Ecosystem has already achieved in one year of runtime, and there certainly are more exciting projects, discoveries, and conversations to be had in the future of the Ecosystem!