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New wood-based materials to prevent the spread of microorganisms in hospitals

27/09/2018

A recently launched development project called Sami&Samu is looking to introduce innovative renewable materials, surface finishes and textiles to Hospital Nova, a new hospital due to open in Central Finland in 2020. VTT, JAMK University of Applied Sciences and Central Finland Health Care District have joined forces to combat antimicrobial resistance in hospital environments with the help of natural wood-based bioactive substances. Another main target  is to replace traditional materials with new bio-based solutions.

The structural solutions and interior design elements of Hospital Nova have been chosen with the health benefits of nature in mind. The goal is to find substitutes for oil-based plastics, reduce the volume of waste generated by the hospital and prioritise recyclable materials.

"Our aim is to make the hospital safer and more environmentally friendly. The growth and spread of microorganisms can be prevented, for example, by using wood-based materials and bioactive additives. This interdisciplinary development project is based on earlier research and involves testing the most promising materials and substances developed in connection with previous studies", explains Project Manager Matti Virkkunen from VTT. 

The project team will experiment with adding bioactive substances to traditional hospital materials, such as textiles. The researchers will also test pilot versions of hospital supplies made with new surface materials or finishes, such as privacy curtains, linen and appliances previously made from oil-based plastics. 

The project focuses on putting on various kinds of demonstrations and testing the most promising solutions in Central Finland Health Care District's Living Lab development environment. The project is hoped to accelerate the development and commercialisation of wood-based antimicrobial and low-carbon substitutes for plastic coatings and textiles in Central Finland.

The two-year project was launched in August 2018, and its total budget is EUR 657,000. The project team consists of representatives of VTT, JAMK University of Applied Sciences and Central Finland Health Care District. The project is coordinated by VTT, and it is funded by the Regional Council of Central Finland, participating research organizations and companies in the consortium.

Several businesses have already expressed interest in the project. Sponsors and partners include KiiltoClean Oy, Millidyne Oy, Paptic Ltd, Sakupe Oy, Serres Oy, UPM-Kymmene Corporation, Walki Oy, Welmu International Oy and Repolar Pharmaceuticals Oy.

Further information

JAMK University of Applied Sciences, Institute of Bioeconomy
Tarmo Lampila, Specialist, tel. +358 50 594 5287, tarmo.lampila@jamk.fi