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Award Spotlights Innovations in Cellulosic Applications

BY MARK RUSHTON AND JAN BOTTIGLIERI

A new award category in the prestigious annual PPI Awards competition is designed to honor industry innovation. For this inaugural run, the judges have selected five project finalists that expand the limits of what can be done with renewable cellulosic materials.

Now in its ninth year, the PPI Awards are the only global awards celebrating achievement in the pulp and paper industry. The 2017 event will be extra special as it will be held during CEPI Paper Week as the confederation celebrates its 25th Anniversary in Brussels, Belgium. The PPI Awards will be given out at a gala dinner at the prestigious and historic Royal Museums of Art and History in Brussels on November 29.

This year the PPI Awards saw the launch of two new categories: The Pulp & Paper Industry Internet of Things Award and The Innovation in Cellulosic Applications Award, both of which have seen excellent quality of entries. Here is a closer look at three of the five finalists in the “Innovation in Cellulosic Applications” category.

The Cellutech bicycle helmet.

Cellutech – Bicycle Helmet
Swedish forest products company Cellutech has developed a bicycle helmet made entirely from forest-based materials. Still only a prototype, the helmet was created and constructed by designer Rasmus Malbert, who used a variety of cellulose materials in his design. The helmet has an outer shell of wood veneer and straps made of durable paper. The cushioning inside consists of Cellutech’s proprietary cellulose foam.

The foam (called Cellufoam) is made of nanocellulose produced from wood pulp so, like paper, it is both renewable and biodegradable. Researchers at the Wallenberg Wood Science Center (WWSC) first developed the concept for the foam. The collaboration between WWSC and Cellutech will work to bring other cellulose products closer to market, the company says.

“I think there is an incredibly strong potential in this material; we are just at the beginning of an exciting trend where more and more petroleum-based materials are replaced with renewable alternatives,” says Malbert. Learn more at: www.cellutech.se

Processum – Forest Fish
“The fish of the future is growing on trees” is the tagline for a unique project from Processum, a subsidiary of the RISE group, which supports and initiates research and development within the biorefinery arena.

According to Processum, the aim of the project is to create a new value chain “from forest to the table” with the final goal to build a pilot infrastructure that demonstrates the whole value chain around a circular production system (forest—fish food—farmed fish—forest fertilizer.) The project is rethinking Swedish food production as process streams from the forest industry are turned into food via fish feed at the same time as an action plan for a local “pisciculture market” is created. The project leader is Niklas Berglin, NiNa Innovation; in addition to Processum, project partners include Domsjö Fabriker, RAISIOagro, Sweco, SLU, and Vattenbrukscentrum Norr. To learn more, visit http://www.processum.se/en/.

Paptic – The Next Generation of Paper
Paptic Ltd. is a Finnish startup company and spin-off from the VTT Technical Research Centre. It was selected as one of the “ten hottest startup companies” of the year by Finnish magazine Talouselämä (the only one representing the bioeconomy.)

The company produces a proprietary fiber product that it says outperforms both paper and plastic. The material “is a 60–85 percent biobased, recyclable, next generation packaging material; it offers an unseen combination of paper and plastics’ qualities,” according to Paptic. It is heat-sealable and can be stretched up to 20 percent, and it is available in a range of thicknesses (30 – 200 micrometers) and basis weights (30 -150 gsm). It is currently based on up to 80 percent biodegradable raw materials, with a view to this becoming 100 percent in the forthcoming product generations, the company says.

The Paptic material will be produced at an industrial level with paper machines equipped with proprietary Paptic technology. “Our products enable the creation of a new fiber-based packaging material brand. The demand for bio-based products is growing rapidly, and that is why now is the right time to bring in a new sustainable alternative to the market. Together with our partners and investors, we will make Paptic a bioeconomy success story,” says Paptic Ltd. CEO Tuomas Mustonen. Learn more at www.paptic.com.

The two other finalists for the “Innovation in Cellulosic Applications” category are:

Dr. Malay Das, Dr. Samik Bhattacharya and Dr. Jayadri Ghosh:
For their work on “Molecular Techniques for Bamboo Pulp Production.”

MetGen Oy: Industrial Enzymes for Lignocellulose Biomass
According to the company, the MetGen technology platform enables further improvements in the bioconversion of all parts of lignocellulosic biomass into value-added chemicals, including biofuels. Learn more at www.metgen.com.

To learn more about the other categories in the 2017 PPI Awards, or to register to attend the PPI Awards ceremony, please visit: https://events.risiinfo.com/ppi-awards/

 

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