VTT, Helsinki University of Technology and UPM to establish an internationally unique Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies

Science, research and industrial partners are turning nanotechnology into evolving product platform

The internationally unique Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies aims to create new applications for cellulose as a raw material, substance and end product. Cellulose-based nanofibres can be used to alter the structure of the material and create products that better correspond to future market needs.

The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies started operating on 1 March 2008. Its operations will be centralised in Otaniemi, Espoo. The Centre will employ around 40 researchers. It is an equal consortium of three partners. The operations are being financed by public and private investments.

Cellulose fibres (30 micrometres wide, 2-3 millimetres long) consist of nanofibrils that are about one-thousandth of the dimensions of a cellulose fibre. One of the challenges in research is to produce large quantities of nanofibrils of even quality.

Nanofibrils provide a number of possibilities for treating wood fibre materials and adding completely new properties to them. The mechanical properties of raw materials can be improved, their moisture behaviour controlled, electrical properties changed or optical properties adjusted.

Applications include special papers, paper coating, packages and building materials. In addition to the paper and packaging industry, the construction, vehicle, furniture, electronics, food product and cosmetics industries can create added value for their products using tailored fibre materials.

The forest industry is going through a major transition, and the utilisation of new technologies will provide a means for strengthening the competitiveness in the sector. By combining basic research, applied research and productisation and business competence, the partners aim to speed up the launch of new profitable products on the world’s market in the near future.

The Helsinki University of Technology TKK is the leading technological university in Finland. TKK’s four faculties have 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Every year, about 1,000 students and more than 150 doctors graduate from TKK. This year, TKK will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary as a university. www.tkk.fi

UPM is one of the world’s leading forest products groups. The Group's sales in 2007 were EUR 10 billion, and it has about 26,000 employees. UPM's main products include printing papers, label materials and wood products. The company has production units in 14 countries and its main market areas are Europe and North America. UPM's shares are listed on stock exchange in Helsinki, and the company has an ADR programme on the OTC market in the United States. www.upm-kymmene.fi

 


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