Norske Skog has been granted NOK 6.5 million from Innovation Norway for two projects. For further development of microfibrillated cellulose (MFC), or so-called nanocellulose, it has been granted NOK 4.5 million, while for the development of fibreboard the total support is NOK 2.0 million.
Microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) is a renewable product and has several interesting applications. MFC will be a new commodity that will enhance paper-based products. In addition, MFC can over time be developed as a replacement for plastic products, as well as a thickening substance in various products such as paint.
“If we succeed in producing MFC with this technology and use it in our paper production, this could reduce our costs and make us more competitive in the future. At the same time, the MFC competence will be useful for the entire group”, says Sven Ombudstvedt, President and CEO of Norske Skog.
Innovation Norway has already funded a pre-built pilot plant for MFC-production at Saugbrugs, which will open later this year. This plant has a capacity of about 1 ton per day.
Kjell Arve Kure about the strategy of Norske Skog
“Our strategy is to develop new fiber and energy products in synergy with our paper production. The MFC plant can be one of the leading facilities in the world, and may eventually give Norske Skog a unique knowledge to produce new environmentally friendly and renewable products in the future”, says Kjell Arve Kure, CEO of Norske Skog Saugbrugs.
The main purpose of the MFC-project is to develop MFC from thermomechanical pulp (TMP), which is the main raw material for paper. The pilot project is budgeted at NOK 18.4 million of which Innovation Norway’s funding share is NOK 4.5 million.
Microfibrillated cellulose has received increased attention in forestry industrial research in recent years. The material has special characteristics and can be applied in a number of areas. Research and production of MFC has so far been based on chemical cellulose pulp (sulphate and sulphite pulp). Only a handful larger production facilities exists. Production of MFC from thermomechanical pulp (TMP) is entirely new.
“The pulp and paper industry in the region of Østfold has shown a great ability and willingness to change. This is a resource-intensive work with high risks. We support projects to give the industry the best possible conditions for success”, says senior advisor Erlend Ystrøm Hårtveit in Innovation Norway.
“Creating new businesses at Norske Skog Saugbrugs is a future-oriented development within a traditional industry. The projects are based on world-class wood fibre competence, creating new jobs in south-east Norway”, says Hårtveit.
Norske Skog has also received NOK 2.0 million in funding from Innovation Norway to develop fibreboard. Preliminary test results show the boards to have a solid structure, light weight and excellent insulation capabilities. The project funding will cover the building of a pilot plant to develop necessary production techniques to realize full-scale production of the new fibreboards. The boards will be tested and developed in collaboration with potential customers in the construction industry. The project aim is to realize full-scale production within a short time frame.