The project is financed by Vinnova, Innventia and BillerudKorsnäs. Nanocellulose can be used as additives in papermaking to make lighter and stronger paper and board in the food industry.
Torgny Persson VP/director, business area material processes, Innventia, told FoodProductionDaily, BillerudKorsnäs is the first firm to take part in this start-up phase and it expects others to follow.
“We are currently carrying out trials on their facilities and constructing a plant in mobile containers at Innventia to send them to customers to produce and do trials on mill sites,” he said.
“The mobile factory will be finished by the end of next year, and we hope to have it in operation by November.”
Innventia formed a pilot plant for the production of nanocellulose at the research institute in Stockholm four years’ ago. Large amounts of nanocellulose are manufactured for R&D addressing paper applications.
Persson added the paper is given completely new properties and could replace plastics, in many areas of food. More products could be produced from renewable and biodegradable raw material.
The mobile demonstration plant will make it possible to produce nanocellulose on a large scale for use in full-scale trials on paper and board machines.
“We have been focusing on nanocelluloseactivities for at least six to 10 years and we started activities with BillerudKorsnäs from tree root fibres on a laboratory scale and customers wanted larger quantities to test it on our pilot facilities, for example 100kilos a day.
Food thickening agent
“We believe the technology could be used in food processing as a thickening agent, for products such as yoghurt and hamburgers to improve the taste as well as packaging to make paper board stronger.”
He added the launch of the mobile factories is an important step towards the development of nanocellulose-based materials and the availability of test beds and demonstration plants are crucial for up-scaling processes resulting from its research and development.
The company will offer more companies access to the demonstration plant in the next couple of years.
Mikael Ankerfors, project manager, New Business Lab, BillerudKorsnäs, said the technology has a fantastic potential in paper applications as well as in a number of other applications.
“This project is exciting as it gives us the possibility to validate the potential in full scale and it challenges conventional packaging for a sustainable future,” he added.