The new center is a continuum for the Center of Water Efficiency Excellence, which Kemira initially established together with VTT in Finland. The center in São Paulo aims to implement the newest water technology research in the growing South American market. Important focus areas will be biomass, bioethanol, pulp and applications for the oil and mining industries.
"This R&D center in São Paulo is the fourth part in Kemira's R&D center network that we need for executing our growth strategy. Kemira has been investing in building a strong technology platform and developing new water chemistry applications for various industries. A strong presence in emerging markets is essential for technology transfer and extracting signals from the market. Now we will have a network capable of conducting focused R&D for the South American market", says Harri Kerminen, President and CEO of Kemira.
"Our cooperation round the Center of Water Efficiency Excellence ensures a strong platform for serving our customers in South America. It is also a possibility to work together with one of the most important European Research Institutes, improving our local capabilities to develop customized solutions. In the long-term perspective, we can jointly develop new solutions in areas with high market potential, such as applications for biomass, mining, forestry and oil industry", says Hilton Casas de Almeida, Region Head for South America, Kemira Oyj.
"An on-site research facility in São Paulo enables VTT to support Finnish businesses in the growing South American market as well as develop its research collaboration in a very efficient way. This can't be done without being present in local markets in South America. Here in South America, Kemira is an important partner for VTT, and establishing research facilities in Brazil supports VTT's internationalization strategy especially in the fields of industrial biotechnology and the forest sector", says Erkki KM Leppävuori, CEO of VTT.
The primary function of VTT's new unit in Brazil will be to form partnerships with local enterprises and research institutions in turning biomass into chemicals, energy (biofuels), and pulp-based products. In addition to Kemira, VTT also hopes to form close partnerships with other Finnish enterprises in Brazil. Finnish industrial companies are already operating in the country and many have invested heavily in the local market.
VTT aims to grow the new unit into a team of 10 research scientists by the end of 2011 and a genuine research centre of 15 - 20 employees by the end of 2012. The Brazilian unit will operate under VTT International Ltd as part of VTT Group.