Stora Enso will spend €7 million to broaden its biocomposites raw material site in Hylte, Sweden, as it aims to strengthen its position as a renewable materials company.
The investment covers a new biocomposites competence centre and the installation of new machinery for the milling of large fibres for the DuraSense material, which was launched earlier this year and is described as a renewable replacement for plastics.
The centre will house a laboratory and piloting facilities, performance testing capabilities and a showroom. Construction is expected to be completed next year.
Stora Enso said the biocomposite mill in Hylte — which started operations earlier this year — is the “largest wood fibre-based biocomposite plant in Europe”, with an annual production capacity of 15,000 tonnes.
The company added that although the new investment will not have a significant impact on the production capacity, it will diversify the raw material base.
Jari Suominen, executive vice president of Stora Enso’s wood products division, said: “As we see an increasing demand for the innovative DuraSense biocomposite, the diversification of the raw material base and the new biocomposites competence centre will provide Stora Enso with faster access to the market for replacing fossil-based plastics with renewable ones.
“With our fully integrated process and excellent fibre knowledge we can enhance our growth in this market.”
Stora Enso head of biocomposites Patricia Oddshammar added: “With the new equipment in place, Stora Enso will be able to provide more choice to DuraSense users in the technical properties and selection of fibres for the biocomposites, and also offer an attractive price position compared to traditional plastics. This will make it easier for customers to switch from existing material solutions to those based on biocomposites.
She added: “At the new biocomposites competence centre we will be able to share our knowledge with our customers as well as assist them with test runs and product testing, step by step.”
The DuraSense product is said to enable the use of renewable fibres, such as wood, to substitute for a large portion of fossil-based plastic such as bottle caps and kitchen utensils, among other products.
Source : foodbev.com