Sign In
Information about science based innovations, solid facts to support decision-making, performance and business development for VTT’s partners, customers and anyone interested in high technology and its applications.
A magazine on science, technology and business

Towards carbon-neutral materials

Text: Leena Koskenlaakso | 18.1.2019

"What should I do if my bath overflows? Turn off the tap, of course." 

Ali Harlin, a Research Professor at VTT, began his presentation by comparing the current availability of carbons to an overflowing bath. There are plenty of carbons above ground – digging them up is no longer sustainable.

Carbon-neutral materials can be obtained in three ways:

  1. By replacing fossil carbons with, say, recycled or bio-based ones

  2. By recovering existing carbons

  3. By introducing higher performance to the equation, i.e. by developing better design methods and a new kind of trade in materials.

GrowthLab-8472.jpg

Creating added value is the key issue

Harlin believes that creating added value is the key to everything. We would have sufficient resources if we could only increase their value, i.e. do things better than before.

Textile recycling is a good example of the creation of added value and carbon recovery: buyers of textile products can repair, rent or sell the garments they use, use them as a material for handicrafts or new products, or take them to recycling stations. Recycled textiles can be used as an industrial raw material. When mechanically or chemically processed, they can be used to produce yarn, fabrics and clothing that eventually end up back in stores and consumers' shopping bags.

Digitalisation is the key

Parts of the materials value chain have already been digitalised, but not all of them have been brought together. Digitalisation can form the basis of new business models and materials can begin being sold as services.

Harlin called for a transition in recycling from mass processing to an object-based economy. If each recyclable object is identified across the recycling period, millions of tons could be recycled with precision.

Case: Better than plastic!

Research Scientist Anna Tenhunen introduced a future packaging solution developed by VTT, which resembles plastic but is 100 per cent bio-based and renewable.

This transparent, multi-layered packaging material made from cellulose is recyclable and suitable for the packaging of foodstuffs that are sensitive to moisture and oxygen.

The new packaging material was one of five winners of the Circular Materials Challenge 2018 arranged by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. It also won the Ecopack Challenge 2018 competition, organised in cooperation with Marks & Spencer, at the Packaging Innovations Fair. The winning streak continued at the Sustainability Awards 2018 contest arranged by Packaging Europe, where VTT was the winner in the bio-based packaging category. VTT is seeking partners for the commercialisation of the material.

GrowthLab-8514.jpg

 

 

VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/ImpulseVTT Impulse
Bioeconomy and circular economyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Bioeconomy-and-circular-economy.aspxBioeconomy and circular economy
Smart Citieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smart-Cities.aspxSmart Cities
Business developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-development.aspxBusiness development
Open-source infrastructure in product development for the electromechanical industryhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Open-source-infrastructure-in-product-development-for-the-electromechanical-industry.aspxOpen-source infrastructure in product development for the electromechanical industry
Converting rags to design clotheshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Converting-rags-to-design-clothes.aspxConverting rags to design clothes
Cyber security modelled on the vaccination programmehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cyber-security-modelled-on-the-vaccination-programme.aspxCyber security modelled on the vaccination programme
Cyber security requires more than just technological competenceshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Cyber-security-requires-more-than-just-technological-competences.aspxCyber security requires more than just technological competences
Demand for energy storage is growing rapidlyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Demand-for-energy-storage-is-growing-rapidly.aspxDemand for energy storage is growing rapidly
Developers of the futurehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Developers-of-the-future.aspxDevelopers of the future
Miniaturising devices to fit on your palmhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Miniaturising-devices-to-fit-on-your-palm.aspxMiniaturising devices to fit on your palm
Minister of Energy would like to expand emissions tradinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Minister-of-Energy-would-like-to-expand-emissions-trading.aspxMinister of Energy would like to expand emissions trading
Jari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beatershttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Old-and-new-workhorses-as-recession-beaters.aspxJari Gustafsson: Old and new workhorses as recession beaters
Professor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new wayhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Professor-Tiina-Mattila-Sandholm-Valio-Businesses-and-researchers-need-to-find-each-other-in-a-new-way.aspxProfessor Tiina Mattila-Sandholm, Valio: Businesses and researchers need to find each other in a new way
Minister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growthhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Renewal-of-economy-will-bring-new-growth.aspxMinister of Economic Affairs Olli Rehn: Renewal of economy will bring new growth
Can a phone help you achieve peace of mind?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Can-a-phone-help-you-achieve-peace-of-mind.aspxCan a phone help you achieve peace of mind?
Challenges conceal opportunitieshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Challenges-conceal-opportunities.aspxChallenges conceal opportunities
Circular economy of the future requires a lot of clean energyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Circular-economy-of-the-future-requires-a-lot-of-clean-energy.aspxCircular economy of the future requires a lot of clean energy
Comfy but energy efficient homeshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Comfy-but-energy-efficient-homes.aspxComfy but energy efficient homes
Controlling friction and greenhouse emissions by digitalising materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Controlling-friction-and-greenhouse-emissions-by-digitalising-materials.aspxControlling friction and greenhouse emissions by digitalising materials
IPR first to international marketshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/IPR-first-to-international-markets.aspxIPR first to international markets
It is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growthhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-is-the-duty-of-entrepreneurs-to-seek-growth.aspxIt is the duty of entrepreneurs to seek growth
It will soon be possible to monitor your body’s fluid balance with a perspiration meterhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/It-will-soon-be-possible-to-monitor-your-body’s-fluid-balance-with-a-perspiration-meter.aspxIt will soon be possible to monitor your body’s fluid balance with a perspiration meter
VTT Impulsehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/MainPage.aspxVTT Impulse
Towards carbon-neutral materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-carbon-neutral-materials.aspxTowards carbon-neutral materials
Towards patient-centred, personalised healthcarehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Towards-patient-centred-personalised-healthcare.aspxTowards patient-centred, personalised healthcare
Traceable data will accelerate the circulation of materialshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Traceable-data-will-accelerate-the-circulation-of-materials.aspxTraceable data will accelerate the circulation of materials
Tracking peoplehttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Tracking-people.aspxTracking people
Transport gets smarthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Transport-gets-smart.aspxTransport gets smart
Turbine blades bring millions in savingshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Turbine-blades-bring-millions-in-savings.aspxTurbine blades bring millions in savings
We cannot afford not to have robotshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/We-cannot-afford-not-to-have-robots.aspxWe cannot afford not to have robots
What and how will people eat in the future?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/What-and-how-will-people-eat-in-the-future.aspxWhat and how will people eat in the future?
World in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questionshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/World-in-2030-answers-to-tomorrows-questions.aspxWorld in 2030 - answers to tomorrow’s questions
Are environmental claims believable?https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Are-environmental-claims-believable.aspxAre environmental claims believable?
At the digital forefront of mininghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/At-the-digital-forefront-of-mining.aspxAt the digital forefront of mining
Automation gives packages wingshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Automation-gives-packages-wings.aspxAutomation gives packages wings
Before information gets lost in numbershttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Before-information-gets-lost-in-numbers.aspxBefore information gets lost in numbers
Boost for propeller developmenthttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Boost-for-propeller-development.aspxBoost for propeller development
Business angel speaks out: Growth from the international arenahttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Business-angel-speaks-out-Growth-from-the-international-arena.aspxBusiness angel speaks out: Growth from the international arena
Health benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food qualityhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Health-benefits-and-efficiency-without-sacrificing-food-quality.aspxHealth benefits and efficiency without sacrificing food quality
How to become a leading country in flexible energy production systemshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/How-to-become-a-leading-country-in-flexible-energy-production-systems.aspxHow to become a leading country in flexible energy production systems
Hybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recyclinghttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Hybrid-methods-offer-new-solutions-for-metals-recycling.aspxHybrid methods offer new solutions for metals recycling
Impulse 1/2015https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-1-2015.aspxImpulse 1/2015
Impulse 2/2015https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2015.aspxImpulse 2/2015
Impulse 2/2016https://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Impulse-2-2016.aspxImpulse 2/2016
Industrial cyber security improves through cooperationhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Industrial-cyber-security-improves-through-cooperation.aspxIndustrial cyber security improves through cooperation
Intelligence for machineshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligence-for-machines.aspxIntelligence for machines
Intelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exportshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Intelligent-transport-a-trump-card-for-Finnish-exports.aspxIntelligent transport – a trump card for Finnish exports
Smarter products and modules – produced more efficientlyhttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Smarter-products-and-modules-–-produced-more-efficiently.aspxSmarter products and modules – produced more efficiently
Sustainability and acceptability for mining operationshttps://www.vttresearch.com/Impulse/Pages/Sustainability-and-acceptability-for-mining-operations.aspxSustainability and acceptability for mining operations