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Kemira joins project to develop 100% bio-based chemicals for paper production


June 24, 2019
By P&PC Staff

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June 24, 2019 – Kemira, global chemical supplier to the pulp and paper industry, has joined a four-year European Union (EU)–funded project that aims to develop 100 per cent bio-based chemicals produced from renewable raw materials.

In addition, the project aims to develop new means to improve production efficiency at pulp mills with higher use of wood biomass.

The project began in May 2019 and has received EUR 5.9 million funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program. The total budget of the project is EUR 9.6 million and it is one of several undertakings aimed at developing a sustainable bio-based industry sector in Europe.

In addition to Kemira, the project involves different organizations across Europe: Ecohelix (SE), Avantium Chemicals BV (NL), Metgen Oy (FI), Novamont Spa (IT), Fundacio Universitaria Balmes (ES) and Graanul Biotech Ou (EE) and Spinverse (FI).

Over the next four years, Kemira and other project members will conduct demonstration-scale trial runs at a dissolving pulp mill in Europe. Biotechnology company Ecohelix will provide and operate the demonstration unit, and Kemira’s role is to assess the technical and economic feasibility of the bio-based offerings produced in the project. The aim is to develop fully bio-based polymeric chemistries for paper and cardboard production to complement and even replace polymers that are derived from petroleum.

“The pulp production process produces some side-streams, which have up until now been considered of low value,” says Veli-Matti Vuorenpalo, manager of global processes and projects at Kemira R&D. “The project partners are looking to change this and enable a more holistic and sustainable utilization of wood biomass. We see that there is a great potential to improve the resource efficiency and circulation of materials in the process and to replace fossil-based raw materials with renewable ones.”