STOCKHOLM, Dec. 5, 2013 (Press Release) - Innventia has been awarded a grant of SEK 3,400,000 by VINNOVA for two projects which will accelerate the development of new products from renewable resources. The test bed Swedish lignin-based carbon fibre will expand the possibilities for establishing lignin as a raw material for carbon fibre production. In addition, the development of 3D packages of paper and board can also come true thanks to a new feasibility study at Innventia.
As part of VINNOVA's focus on the development of test beds within the environmental technology area, Innventia has been granted SEK 3,000,000 for establishing a test bed for lignin-based carbon fibre. The industrial usage of carbon fibre is foreseen to increase fourth fold by 2020. Carbon fibre composites can e.g. replace steel in cars and transport vehicles and reduce the weight and thereby the fuel consumption. The need for new non-petroleum based raw material for carbon fibre production is huge. Lignin is a biobased, renewable material that is accessible in large quantities. The establishment of a test bed will accelerate the development of lignin into an established raw material for carbon fibre production.
"The grant confirms our focus on carbon fibre from lignin. Within the frame of the project, we will also produce criteria for building a pilot facility for multifilament carbon fibre production. Thanks to our establishment of a consortium of parties along the whole value chain, from raw material producers to end users, and research institutes, we have now good potential to increase the availability of biobased carbon fibre," says Marie Bäckström who is leading the research within biorefinery processes and products.
In addition to the investment in a test bed for lignin-based carbon fibre, Innventia is granted SEK 400,000 to examine how the pilot plant, FEX, can be developed into a test bed for manufacture of highly stretchable paper and board products. The idea is to enable testing in the future of new manufacturing concepts for paper that has to be extremely stretchable in both machine and cross direction, a quality that will make it possible to replace some of today's 3D packages in plastic, thereby reducing the amount of non-biodegradable plastic waste.
"Traditionally, paper has only been used to manufacture packages with flat surfaces. What restricts the use of paper for 3D packages, i.e. with curved surfaces, is the lack of industrial processes to produce paper material with a high level of stretchability in the cross direction," says Mikael Nygårds, research manager of the paper physics area.
"Once FEX is optimised, the machine will also be able to produce highly deformable paper and board that can be used to manufacture 3D package demonstrators. As FEX can imitate industrial conditions, we will hopefully be able to lower the threshold for industrial implementation," says Hannes Vomhoff, who is leading the research within paper technology.