StartUs Journal spoke to Jarkko Tuominen and Katariina Kemppainen of Metsä Spring, Metsä Group’s enterprise capital and innovation arm. Equally Jarkko and Katariina head particular person assignments that lead to a extra sustainable upcoming.
Jarkko is heading a collaborative project with Valmet to acquire new 3D fibre products and solutions although Katariina is Metsä’s programme manager for ExpandFibre, a joint EUR 50 million R&D collaboration with the Finnish electrical power firm Fortum, with the formidable notion of lifting the adjunct innovation ecosystem to new heights.
Let us obtain out extra about how you can join the discussion by connecting with the primary sector participant!
Jarkko, next our job interview in March 2020, Metsä Group has resolved to transfer ahead in the collaboration with Valmet and go on the advancement associated to novel 3D fibre items made from sustainably grown Nordic wooden. What gave you self esteem in this final decision?
Jarkko: We have utilised the previous six months to carry out a technical pre-study collectively with Valmet as effectively as to execute a marketplace feasibility study. These scientific studies still left us with promising effects and thus, a good motive to transfer forward with the next stage. At this phase, both equally Metsä Team and Valmet are extremely dedicated to building the related new technical concept. In actuality, each businesses lately introduced a joint expense of EUR 20 million.
What are your options to go forward with the venture?
Jarkko: The immediate system is to build a pilot plant with a pilot manufacturing line, in Äänekoski, Finland. We assume the plant to be built by the end of 2021 and then to start with our complex enhancement and testing things to do, which will operate for about a single additional calendar year just before the future move. By the conclusion of 2022, we will consider the principle once more and determine whether to move into the demo or output phase or not.
Katariina, you are the Programme Supervisor of ExpandFibre, one more initiative the place Metsä Team is a founding partner. What can you notify us about ExpandFibre?
Katariina: ExpandFibre is a EUR 50 million R&D collaboration and an ecosystem launched by Metsä Group Fortum and co-funded by Small business Finland. We target on upgrading pulp fibre, hemicellulose, and lignin from renewable and sustainable sources of straw and northern wooden into new bioproducts. Our eyesight is to market the advancement of new bioproducts dependent on sustainable biomass to contribute drastically to the reduction of the detrimental environmental effects of our day to day lives.
Why did you join forces with Fortum, an strength organization, to realise this initiative?
Katariina: Both equally Fortum and Metsä Group have strategic targets to construct new and sustainable bio-based companies of considerable scale. These widespread passions led to establishing ExpandFibre to velocity up innovation, decrease challenges, and activate the ecosystem to make the significant mass essential to solve vital challenges.
Also, ExpandFibre’s ecosystem is made up of a multitude of bioeconomy players, who will have a central job in co-building new technologies and ideas that enhance the R&D endeavours of Fortum and Metsä Team.
Jarkko’s 3D fibre products development is just one of these initiatives that make new technologies – how is it linked to ExpandFibre?
Katariina: The target guiding our collaboration with Fortum is to act as a resource of way. By likely into the whole worth chain, chatting to businesses, knowing them, and viewing what they are executing, we are capable to locate gaps in the R&D landscape to comprehend the place we need to have new initiatives.
Given that ExpandFibre is co-funded by Business enterprise Finland, the countrywide funding agency has also decided to steer funding into these R&D gaps because there needs to be enough exercise all through the worth chain. And among quite a few other projects, the 3D fibre undertaking is one of them. Small business Finland has taken a equivalent method with other significant companies and their R&D initiatives, for illustration, the parallel R&D effort by Nokia focusing on 5G.
What are some of the R&D gaps you have now discovered? How do they link to your concentration places?
Katariina: In basic, we have selected seven areas, in which we are intrigued and where we by now see a will need for much more innovation and collaboration.
- Textiles, which is a significant joint topic for Metsä Team and Fortum. Both equally corporations goal locating sustainable new systems to make textile fibers out of their respective uncooked resources.
- Biocomposites, a joint concentrate place in which Fortum can provide into engage in recycled plastics which they generate in Finland
- Packaging, which we cover e.g. through Jarkko’s task
- Sourcing & Fractionation of Straw, a massive region for Fortum in distinct
- Lignin Products and solutions & Hemicellulose Products and solutions, yet again an curiosity space of Fortum due to the on-going improvement of the straw fractionation procedure
- Other Fibre Products, especially seeking for new superior-volume product methods that are based on wooden pulp fibres, a sizeable commercial item of Metsä Group
In general, we are primarily intrigued in new elements from biomass, however, we determined to exclude fuels and bulk chemical compounds from the R&D collaboration.
Jarkko: Inside these spots, the gaps in the landscape typically worry technologies this kind of as 3D printing, robotics, and automation, between other individuals.
When hunting for new partners to fill these gaps – what are you seeking for?
Jarkko: We want to get the job done with partners that share our vision and have complementary competencies. For example, in my venture the main lover is Valmet. However, we are also conversing with several other firms about gaps in the R&D landscape. We do this mainly because we have the mission to meet up with the growing demand from customers for sustainable bioproducts by developing groundbreaking supplies and systems. To accomplish this, we include a lot of other firms throughout the globe.
Katariina: The troubles that we are tackling are world – so we want to interact globally as nicely. We want to have any corporation on board that can provide in competencies, assets, or networks into this ecosystem of ExpandFibre. In the long run, we want to activate, community, and provide alongside one another all companies and networks that share the similar mission.
What is the greatest way for firms to get included with ExpandFibre?
Katariina: The ideal way to get in contact is via our site, in which my make contact with details are obtainable. We’ll also have much more information and facts before long concerning joint projects and occasions, the activities of the ecosystem as well as other channels to share thoughts.
What’s crucial to us is that our partners are aligned with our eyesight and have competencies, sources, or a community that can contribute to a common purpose – and we are open up for dialogue at any time!
ExpandFibre will host an on-line start event on 29.10 – to participate, register listed here, or get in touch with Katariina through expandfibre.com.
If you are intrigued in connecting with Metsä Spring to talk about new, wood-based supplies, go below.
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