New piloting platform for process chemistry ready for speeding up bio- and circular economy
Finland's state-owned research institute VTT's new piloting platform for process chemistry in VTT Bioruukki Pilot Centre has been designed to accelerate corporate bio- and circular economy projects. The modernisation and digitalisation of processes offer improved tools for developing, for example, chemical plastics recycling. A virtual opening of the piloting platform for process chemistry at VTT Bioruukki was be held on 23rd September 2020.
-At VTT Bioruukki and its chemistry pilot facility, now celebrating its opening, we aim to solve some of the biggest challenges of our time: climate change and sustainable use of natural resources. At the same time, we are reforming companies' business activities and creating growth opportunities for them. During its five-year journey, VTT Bioruukki has proven its strength and acted as a catalyst for breakthroughs that provide solutions to many of the megachallenges the world is facing, says VTT President & CEO Antti Vasara.
With the launch of the piloting platform for process chemistry, VTT Bioruukki strengthens its position among the world's leading piloting centres.
-We use the piloting platform for chemistry to develop new value-added products from bio- and recycled materials. It complements the existing process technologies at VTT Bioruukki, providing a holistic production chain from raw materials to final products. Some of the raw materials used have been considered very difficult to recycle, says Jussi Manninen, Executive Vice President at VTT.
More than 20 years of process chemistry innovations
VTT launched its pilot plant operations on process chemistry towards the end of the 1990s in Rajamäki and Espoo in Southern Finland. The purpose of piloting is to scale up new ideas and methods verified in laboratory conditions towards industrial scale.
VTT has carried out this kind of R&D for such purposes as renewing the production of starch-based paper chemicals, pretreatment of renewable fuel feedstock, synthesizing of specialty chemicals and polymers, and production of cellulose-based textile fibres.
Plastic waste to chemical recycling
One of the most important tasks of VTT Bioruukki's piloting platform for process chemistry is to develop alternative plastic materials and recycling of plastics. Chemical recycling offers an efficient way for meeting the recycling targets set for plastic materials, also enabling the use of low-quality recycled materials for the industry.
Chemical plastics recycling is one of the five areas of exponential hope on a list recently published by VTT CEO Antti Vasara. By investing in the five areas presented, Finland and Europe could improve their chances of success. In addition, VTT's A Circular Economy of Plastics publication explores solutions to the plastics dilemma, including ecodesign, sorting, mechanical recycling technologies, reduction of the use of fossil raw materials and chemical plastics recycling.
Lowers the business risk of product development
Established in Espoo, in 2015, VTT Bioruukki is a significant piloting centre even in a world scale. It provides Finnish industrial and SME sector operators with an opportunity to commercialise and develop their product and process concepts at an accelerated pace and reduced cost. As businesses are advancing towards commercialisation in their product development, they can reduce their risk by taking advantage of the services offered by VTT experts and research environments. This allows them to skip building their own
After over 20 years working with customers within maintenance, I still do not see much focus on the output of the CMMS:s. I see two actions all companies should take here. First, set the analysis tools free for all users and bring on the creativity!
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd is testing Thermocell plastic film made of cellulose and fatty acids in the production of food packaging in cooperation with Arla Foods, Paulig, and Wipak. Thermocell plastic material, which is made from renewable components, is to be used in the same way as fossil-based plastic. Thanks to the development work, many features of the film already meet the requirements of the food industry, and cooperation has advanced to the testing of industrial production.