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Future biorefineries will take the forest-based industry into a new era


Forestcluster Ltd. launches a new research programme

Future Biorefinery, a research programme by Forestcluster Ltd., will create a new national competence platform in processing of wood biomass and thus, stimulate the transformation of the forest cluster. VTT is strongly involved in the research and development work of the programme.

(Press release of the Forestcluster Ltd on 2nd March 2009)

Future Biorefinery, or short FuBio, is a five-year programme with a total budget of about 50 million euros, financed by the shareholders of Forestcluster Ltd. and by Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation. At the end of February, Tekes made a funding decision of about 9 million euros for the first two-year period of the programme. This is approximately 50 percent of the total budget.

“The research programme aims at generating innovations that can either be implemented as a part of existing industry operations, or which open up entirely new wood-based value chains,” said Christine Hagström-Näsi, CEO, Forestcluster Ltd. “Bioplastics, new composite materials and various bio-chemicals are examples of potential new end-products.”

A unique entity

The research programme of Forestcluster Ltd. is part of a broader Finnish effort to develop new biorefining competencies and technologies, under the umbrella of the Tekes BioRefine programme launched in 2007. This entity harnesses an extensive network of national research institutes, universities and enterprises.

“This kind of collaboration in studying biorefining is internationally unique and is playing a pioneering role in the world, not least because Forestcluster Ltd. and Finnish companies have taken up the challenge and are making such a significant contribution,” said Jukka Leppälahti, the BioRefine Programme Manager at Tekes.

“By 2012, biorefining activities will be under study in Tekes-financed projects to a volume of about 200 million euros.”

Forestcluster Ltd. coordinates the operations of the Finnish forest cluster’s strategic centre for science, technology and innovation. It is backed by all key companies and players in the Finnish forest cluster.