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R&D activities in Europe


Boosting raw material and energy efficiency using advanced sheet structure design and fibre modifications 


Start date:2010-06-01

End date:2013-05-31

Objective: BoostEff aims at developing new innovative manufacturing concepts for wood-fibre based products giving a significant reduction in environmental footprint. The targeted products are important commodities for the European society: paper and construction board. In spite of the different end uses, the paper making and construction board sectors share wood fibres as a common raw material and convert them into planar structures in which all materials are mixed with limited optimization of their performance. The common features of the three BoostEff Concepts is that they result in tailor-made layered structures: wood-fibres and other materials will be placed in the optimal position for the required functionality. This is achieved by developing and demonstrating separation and layering processes in connection with selective modification of sub-streams of the raw materials. The large potential of these process concepts within papermaking was shown in the FP6-project Ecotarget, where technologies were developed to perform these processes.

BoostEff will transfer these techniques into a demonstration and industrial implementation phase in a multi-sectorial context. The BoostEff Concepts will be developed at pilot scale and implemented in full scale in three production units of the industrial partners in the project. Process and product development will proceed in parallel. This includes work for preparing the data necessary in order to proceed into investment projects at the targeted production units at the end of BoostEff. These results will be applicable not only for the specific production units but also serve as a basis for investments elsewhere within the two targeted industrial sectors. It is envisioned that the BoostEff project will contribute to developing more cost efficient and eco efficient processes and technologies, which will result in an upgraded profile for the targeted commodity products.



Autonomous Printed Paper products for functional Labels and Electronics


Start date:2011-06-01

End date:2015-05-31

Objective: A new generation of sustainable paper products with specific autonomous functionalities aiming at interacting with their users and/or reporting changes in their environment is developed. The project focuses on the development of new functional materials (paper, fibres, inks), new functional components (battery, sensors, display, memory) and innovative, flexible and cost-effective manufacturing processes based on printing and embedding techniques for the integration of all these functional components on the smart paper substrate. The new APPLE products make extended use of the specific properties of both fibre based products and (nano)fibres individually: the paper is not only used as substrate providing the required mechanical, surface and barrier properties for the printing and integration of the functional components but also the fibres including the incorporation of nanofibres are used as active elements, namely the display and the memory. The new cost-effective manufacturing process based on printing and embedding techniques with a new quality-controlled, flexible concept developed, will open new opportunities for the paper and printing industries (132 000 printers in Europe, among which 85% are SMEs) in the growing market of low-cost and high value added printed electronics. The aim is to demonstrate the new products for target applications: 1) Environment & safety labels, 2) Environment & advertising posters and 3) Smart packaging labels. The project also aims at paving the way for further development of flexible low-cost manufacturing processes of other new high value added products through the integration of latest sensor, energy sources and ICT technology in order to meet societal needs.



Bioethanol from paper fibres separated from solid waste, MSW


Start date:2010-01-01

End date:2013-12-31

Objective: The EC Directives set ambitious targets for mandatory 10 % biofuels share in road transport. 2nd generation biofuels will give significant benefits as ethanol blends in gasoline and synthetic biodiesel products. The innovative focus in the FibreEtOH project is to demonstrate for the first time globally in a commercial scale, a cost efficient paper fibre based ethanol production with high, > 70 % overall energy efficiency with high > 50 % green house gas reduction. 2nd generation ethanol production technology has been developed using mainly corn stover, straw or saw dust as raw material. So far reliable and cost efficient hydrolysis technology has been the bottleneck for large scale commercial success. By using paper fibres separated from commercial and municipal solid waste or de-inking sludge at paper mills, the hydrolysis process will be significantly easier as no pretreatment and special fractionation process is needed. It is estimated that such raw material is available in quantities for more than one million t/a ethanol production capacity. The EtOH production cost will be highly attractive due to the low price of the waste based raw material and the distillation steam compared to typical straw and wood EtOH production plants. The proposed demonstration plan with 20 000 m3/a ethanol production capacity will be build using 250 000 t/a waste from Helsinki metropolitan area in Finland. Biogas, district heat and electricity will be produced from the by-products. The site and environmental permits have already been granted. The ethanol will be used in Finland in dedicated E5 E85 blends optimising the ethanol fuels to cold climate conditions and tail pipe emissions reduction. The FibreEtOH-proposal will demonstrate innovations in a novel 2G EtOH production chain using optimized and cost-effective enzymatic hydrolysis process taking advantage of the adjacent enzyme production and the whole production concept with high overall process integration.



Transforming urban and agricultural residues into high performance biomaterials for green construction


Start date:2012-09-01

End date:2015-08-31

Objective: INNOBITE project will transform urban and agricultural residues into high performing resource efficient products for the construction sector. The project finds support in two innovative ideas: (1) adding value to the inorganic fraction of wheat straw and (2) obtaining cellulose nanofibres out of highly recycled paper. Once isolated via environmentally friendly processes, these two renewable compounds will be used as high-performance additives for the development of a new series of bio-composites The incorporation of those natural components will improve current solutions in two construction applications: panels for indoor structures (interior walls, ceiling, flooring) and profiles (decking, fencing) by, respectively, increasing the resistance-to-weight ratio and improving the surface hardness and water absorbency. Other commercial bio-plastics as well as the two major fractions of what straw, cellulose and lignin, will be also incorporated into such materials (cellulose after chemical modification and lignin after being polymerised into both thermosetting and thermoplastic resins), and the resulting products will be finally tested for biodegradability. In the same way as wood, which is at the same time biodegradable and exceptional building material, the use of plant-derived products will increase the biodegradability of the biomaterials without compromising their structural quality. The project will destine more than 10% of the total budget to maximize the effectiveness of the exploitation activities, which will include thorough analysis of the cost effectiveness and environmental credentials of the products/processes developed and of new possible business lines and new business models. Also, the validation of developed technologies under the Environmental Technology Verification programme is expected to have a big impact on the exploitation. 



Capture of evaporated water with novel membranes


Start date:2010-09-01

End date:2013-08-31

Objective: One of the major challenges of this century is the provision of safe drinking water for a growing population. The shortage in water resources in arid areas requires the availability of more efficient and cheaper drinking water production processes. For groundwater, it is often sufficient to aerate and disinfect to produce drinking water. However, in large parts of the world the use of groundwater from aquifers is not possible due to excessive use and global climate change that allow penetration of salt sea water into the aquifers. Population growth, not surprisingly, leads to more pollution of aquifers rendering the water quality unsuitable for drinking water purposes without excessive treatment. In contrast, there are always large quantities of water vapour present in air. The objective within CapWa is to produce a commercially available membrane modular system suitable for industrial applications within 3-4 years. The produced demin water from this system should be competitive with existing demin water technologies. The starting point will be the water vapour selective composite membranes that are developed in the proof of principle project. At the same time fundamental research will also be done on other alternative water selecting coatings. For both of these membrane paths the upscale from lab to industrial scale membrane production will be developed in CapWa. In CapWa the modular membrane system will also be developed and tested in the flue gas duct of a gas and coal-fired power plant, a cooling tower (or geothermal well) and in a paper or board mill. To achieve this goal the selective membranes must be thermal/chemically stable under the existing environmental conditions (50-150 deg C) and resistant to fouling. To be competitive with existing demin production lines, the construction of the end system must be efficient and user friendly.



Roll-to-roll PAper Sensors


Start date:2011-05-01

End date:2015-04-30

Objective: ROPAS aims to develop a wireless sensor device on a paper surface which can be manufactured using high-end and low-cost printing techniques. A technological platform is created on a fiber based substrate consisting of the following building blocks: 1. a planar printed battery, 2. a (wireless) signaling device, and 3. a printed sensor switch. Hereto, recent advantages in nanotechnology ((encapsulation) printing, surface modification of fiber based products, sensor and battery development), biotechnology (enzyme encapsulation) and ICT (wireless communication) are integrated on paper. The technological platform can be used to create various high impact (security) applications, which are demonstrated in security tags and smart labels for anti counterfeiting purposes to integrate displays in paper and smart track and trace envelopes. ROPAS will demonstrate products which give the consumer the benefit of saving time and giving more information about the package than possible today, at a low additional cost. Simultaneously creating new products and virgin businesses to boost the paper and pulp industry. The project results in: design guidelines for the technological platform, the creation of printable sensor materials, and processes for printing of such materials including conditioning of the paper substrates.

The consortium is carefully constructed based on:

1. Technologically advanced SMEs: Enfucell (printed battery), and MPicoSys(system architecture), who both received awards for innovative strength and S2 Grupo (ICT security);

2. SMEs and companies with high potential to market and exploit ROPAS technology: Starcke (security tags), Velpa (smart labels) and ELEP (smart envelopes), Loginle (security shipping) and Oce (printed intelligence);

3. High impact RTDs: TNO (sensor development, coating, printing, ICT), VTT (paper modification, intelligent printing processes, enzyme technology), CEA (battery development) and Itene (environmental studies) "



Development of Sustainable Composite Materials


Start date:2008-09-01

End date:2012-08-31

Objective: The SustainComp project aims at the development of a series of completely new wood-based sustainable composite materials for use in a wide array of market sectors, ranging from the medical, transportation and packaging to the construction sector. A primary goal is to substitute fossil-based materials used in these sectors. The performance of today's biocomposite materials is not sufficient for a range of applications. The approach is to better utilize the inherent properties of cellulosic fibres and nanocellulose fibrils in such materials. The project encompasses the whole chain from production of modified fibres and nanocellulose through compounding and moulding to the final ecodesigned product for a number of product families. These new materials will integrate today s large enterprises on the raw material and end-use sides (e.g. pulp mills and packaging manufacturers) and small and medium sized enterprises on the composite processing side (e.g. compounders and composite manufacturers). It is envisioned that this will help the transformation of the traditional Forest Products Industry to more highly value added materials through the adaption of a set of advanced technologies such as the production of nanocellulose in larger scale, tailoring of fibres and nanocellulose, wet commingling, nanostructuring, layer by layer deposition and fibre spinning using nanocellulose fibrils. More specifically the objective is to demonstrate new products within the following product families:

- Nano-reinforced foams (to replace styrofoams in the packaging and construction sector)

- Moulded type of compounds, to introduce cellulose reinforced renewable biocomposites in the transportation and construction sectors

- High throughput nanostructured membranes with designed selectivity for small-scale liquid applications in the medical field to large scale municipal applications

This project conforms to the envisioned composite program in the Forest Technology Platform. 



Development of novel sintered sphere filtering technique for moulding paper pulp to reduce energy consumption and environmental effects of plastic


Start date:2008-07-15

End date:2010-10-14

Objective: China poses a major competitive threat to the European market for the manufacture of products for packaging. Moulded Paper Products (MPP) from China are up 20% cheaper than the equivalent EU products. Due to continued increase in prices there is a need for the EU industry to reduce cost affiliated with low energy efficiencies. A major portion of recovered fiber is sourced from local SMEs such as waste paper merchants, waste management companies and corrugated case manufacturers. The recovered paper market will be directly impacted through potentially higher demand. Demand from China for recovered fiber has pushed prices high. Exports globally estimated at over 13 million tonnes per annum (expected to increase by around 18 million by 2009) are used mainly for MPP manufacturing, which are subsequently exported back to Europe. Estimated growth volumes for existing and new markets, show that increasing usage of recovered fibre will be restrained, unless the industry can move forward on the following key issues: Improvement in the ability to produce cost competitive products Step change in the aesthetic characteristics of products, at competitive prices Migration towards utilization of post- consumer recovered fiber The Solution. The proposed project aims to develop a novel process for producing molded paper products more energy efficiently with better complexity in design. This developed technology will open the way for more applications of MPP across further industries, such as to replace plastic packaging used for consumables, non critical parts in automotive and plastic bottles.



Recovered paper sorting with innovative technologiesì


Start date:2008-05-01

End date:2011-10-31

Objective: SORT IT aims at developing new technologies for a more efficient and profitable sorting of recovered paper and board from various collection systems. These include: * New sensors based on near infrared spectrometry, image analysis and colour measurement (WP 2) * New physical separation devices like robots (WP 3) * New sorting concepts (WP 4) The new sorting devices will be implemented into an industrial sorting chain. Full scale trials will be carried out including sorting of recovered paper from different sources and investigation on paper machines producing newspaper, resp. packaging paper (WP 5). Extensive life cycle studies will be carried out to assess the environmental, economic and social benefits (WP 1). The dissemination and communication plan (WP 6) includes conventional dissemination activities, introduction of new findings to the market and production of foreground for the development of the European environmental policy.



Design and development of an innovative ecoefficient low-substrate flexible paper packaging from renewable resources to replace petroleum based barrier films


Start date:2008-09-01

End date:2011-08-31

Objective: The objective of this project is to design and to develop an innovative ecoefficient low-substrate flexible paper for packaging from renewable resources to reduce the packaging industry s reliance on barrier films derived from petroleum. The challenge of this project is to develop a flexible packaging paper, with barrier properties (grease, water, oxygen and water vapour barrier) competitive with those of untreated plastic films (medium barrier) or to treated plastic films (high barrier). This paper will be developed using renewable materials, beyond state-of-the-art barrier coatings and innovative surface treatment processes. The main scientific advances concern: 1-The development of a substrate with significantly enhanced barrier properties via knowledge-led improvement and innovation such as the use of selected materials in the bulk and the deposition of a thin film of renewable materials during the paper forming. 2-Development of water borne coatings made from renewable materials (starches, functionalised starches, starch derivatives or modified hemicelluloses) and reinforced by (low eco-footprint) minerals or renewable nanoparticles to optimise the desired properties. 3-Development of high barrier paper arising from innovative surface treatments: Solvent free chemical grafting and vacuum coating. These two techniques, although based on very different principles, enable the deposition of nanolayers (a few molecular layers) that drastically improve the barrier properties. 4-Development of a new type of antibacterial coatings to prolong food quality. Particular attention will be paid to sustainability assessment and life cycle analysis throughout the project. A substantial reduction in the amount of packaging going to landfill is envisaged, together with speedier environmental degradation of the packaging materials. This project will make a significant contribution to reduce the reliance on petroleum resources during packaging production. 



Scale-Up Nanoparticles in Modern Papermaking


Start date:2009-07-01

End date:2012-09-30

Objective: Past years have made the radical change of the European paper industry evident to everyone. To accelerate growth, the industry has to beat the product commoditization and renew its product base with value-added products. Energy saving is not just part of the environmental agenda, it has become the most crucial topic for the competitiveness of European paper industry. In order to maintain the advantage, the development of technologically advanced manufacturing processes is a must, along with reduced specific energy consumption. Nanocellulose is the most promising nano-material for wide-variety applications in papermaking, today only prepared and applied in lab-scale. SUNPAP addresses the enhancement of European paper industry competitiveness by means of nanofibrillouscellulose (NFC) based processes. SUNPAP proposes a program based on an integrated and complementary approach for:

- Scaling up efficient and innovative production routes to deliver nanofibrillous cellulose (NFC) as functional additive for industrial processes and innovative added value products;

- Innovating the papermaking processes by the introduction of NFC additive;

- Assessing impacts of nanotechnologies on consumer and occupational safety, public health in general and environment, and enhancing the related European foreground

- Demonstrating the economic, environment and social sustainability of the innovative papermaking processes and products

- Successfully transferring the nanotechnology innovation to the paper value chain

Through demonstrations of the processes, the project will deliver new extremely light-weight and multifunctional products for a wide range of end-uses in the graphical and packaging paper industries. Economical and sustainability assessments in the project cover the whole value chain. However, the targeted advantages are not possible without dramatically changing the total value chain, encompassing it from the pulp to the end of life-cycle of the product.



Water in industry, fit-for-use sustainable water use in chemical, paper, textile and food industry


Start date:2008-06-01

End date:2012-08-31

Objective: Sustainable water use in industry is the goal of AquaFit4Use, by a cross-sectorial, integrated approach. The overall objectives are: the development and implementation of new, reliable, cost-effective technologies, tools and methods for sustainable water supply, use and discharge in the main water consuming industries in order to significantly reduce water use, mitigate environmental impact and produce and apply water qualities in accordance with industrial own specifications (fit - for - use) from all possible sources, and contributing to a far-going closure of the water cycle in a economical, sustainable and safe way while improving their product quality and process stability. The 4 pillars of the project are Industrial Water Fit-for-use, Integrated water resource management, Strong industrial participation and Cross-sectorial technologies and approach. Water fit-for-use is the basis for sustainable water use; the integrated approach a must. Tools will be developed to define and control water quality. The heart of AquaFit4Use however is the development of new cross-sectorial technologies, with a focus at biofouling and scaling prevention, the treatment of saline streams, disinfection and the removal of specific substances. By intensive co-operation between the industries, the knowledge and the technologies developed in this project will be broadly transferred and implemented. This AquaFit4Use project is based on the work of the Working group "Water in Industry" of the EU Water Platform WSSTP; 40 % of the project partners of AquaFit4Use were involved in this working group. The expected impacts of AquaFit4Use are: A substantial reduction of fresh water needs (20 to 60%) and effluent discharge of industries; Integrating process technologies for further closing the water cycles; Improved process stability and product quality in the different sectors and strengthening the competitiveness of the European Water Industry.


BioPack - Design of biocomposites based on nanocellulose and hemicelluloses for future packaging materials

More Information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/BioPack_ProjectOverview.pdf


FibreSurf - New biotechnological tools for wood fibre modification and analysis

More Information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/FibreSurf_ProjectOverview.pdf


HemiPop- Engineering structure and properties of poplar hemicelluloses. 

More Information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/HemiPop_ProjectOverview.pdf


PROBARK - A sustainable process for production of green chemicals from softwood bark. 

More information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/PROBARK_ProjectOverview.pdf


ReCell - Refined cellulose derivatives for high-value biomedical products.

More information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/ReCell_ProjectOverview.pdf


WoodFibre3D - Structure-property relations of wood fibres: 3D characterization and modelling

More information: http://www.woodwisdom.net/mm_files/do_849/WoodFibre3D_ProjectOverview.pdf





Conversion of paper mill sludge into absorbent

Duration: 01/09/2009 - 31/08/2012

Summary: Ninety million tonnes of paper are produced in Europe’s paper mills per year and the sludge that is a by product of this production, well over four million tonnes, is either processed and burned or dumped in landfill. The production of synthetic oil spill absorbents generates around 502,840 tonnes of CO2, according to the project’s assessments. By processing paper mill sludge to create an absorbent material capable of cleaning up oil and chemical spills, the project claims that only 2.9% of emissions of CO2 equivalent will be generated. But there is further use for the sludge once it has soaked up a spill – depending on the calorific value of the absorbed substance, the material collected can then be used as a secondary fuel source, for power plants or cement factories.



Environmental Conservation Obtained by Injection Moulded Pulp PACkaging Technology

Duration: 01/12/2011 - 30/11/2013

Summary: The project will commercialise an improved process for the production of moulded paper packaging with significant environmental and other benefits. The process machines will enable packaging manufacturers to assist retailers in achieving cost effective environmental targets in Europe. This will be achieved by providing novel machines to packaging manufacturers throughout Europe from 2013 onwards. The environmental benefits include promotion of paper recycling and use of sustainable materials with associated reduction in waste and pollution. The process uses less energy than conventional paper processes and is cost effective compared with the conventional paper packaging as well as production of plastic packaging. Commercial benefits are a compact de-centralised process with a small footprint, which produces a finished dried product in situ. The process has the capability for high quality, more intricately shaped products for diverse complex containers. Additives can be incorporated during the manufacturing process to provide colour and fire and water resistant qualities.



New Insulation Material from Recycled Plasterboard Waste

Duration: 06/07/2012 - 05/03/2015

Summary: The project aims to develop mobile machineries for the production of recycled gypsum-paper insulation panels.