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From sawmills to bio refineries

Sawing and wood working

In the 1950s, timber was very important to the Finnish economy. VTT’s wood technology laboratory researched methods and equipment of working wood, while the chemical engineering laboratory thoroughly examined the structure and chemical properties of Finnish pulp fibre.


VTT developed, for example, the so-called saw blade swaging method that significantly reduced the saw blade’s rate of dulling, quickly adopted by all Finnish export sawmills. The competitiveness of the sawmills was also increased by the new sawing method, developed at VTT, that reduced the saw kerf, thus saving raw material and improving the saw cut.

New products to forest industry

VTT continues to bolster the development of the Finnish forest industry’s production, technology and new products. New products are created both through the development of the forest industry’s production processes and machinery and through biorefineries, nanotechnological means and by including biochemical diagnostics or electronic sensors in the paper.


A biorefinery separates different substances and chemical compounds from wood into structural components of materials, chemicals, and energy products. New products include second-generation synthetic biodiesel, bioethanol, bio-oil and bio energy (green electricity and heat).

In addition to these, future products include various biopolymers and biochemicals for the needs of the food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. 



UPM, Metso and Fortum have, in cooperation with VTT, developed a concept for the generation of energy wood based bio-oil to replace fossil fuels in the production of heat and electricity. The intention is to integrate the bio-oil production into UPM’s own power plants using biomass based fuels. The technology to be used in the combined production of bio-oil and renewable energy has been patented.  


Ethanol from cellulose

VTT is in international cooperation with, for example, the French company Deinove in a project researching ethanol production from cellulose. VTT is assessing different bacterial strains and their suitability for ethanol production.  



Bioactive paper

So-called bioactive paper also offers entirely new possibilities for the Finnish forest industry. It has numerous possible applications, including filters, foodstuff or hygiene packages, indicators and sensors to be included in health diagnostics, and the verification of a product’s genuineness and the prevention of counterfeits.  


Clean Card for surfaces requiring a high level of hygiene

The Orion Clean Card PRO wipe, developed by Orion Diagnostica in cooperation with VTT, helps ensure the effective cleaning of surfaces requiring a high level of hygiene, for example in hospitals and food processing spaces.  



Microfibre pulp production

Stora Enso has reported that it is going to begin the pre-commercial production of microfibre pulp in Imatra. According to the company, the new production will be the first of its kind in the world. In the project, VTT participated in the development of the manufacturing processes and applications of microfibre pulp. The new type of raw material will be used as an additional component, in addition to current and new fibre-based paper and cardboard products, as a special coating material in packages requiring impermeability. According to Stora Enso, the produt can, in the future, be utilised in completely new applications, such as plastic bags, sports equipment and cosmetics.  


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