Business Finland launched a new program Bio and Circular Finland at the end of last year. The program has now granted funding for Fortum's project aimed at the global bio-product market.
Fortum is launching a significant development project that aims to manufacture high-value products from agro residues and woody biomass to replace the use of fossil and other environmentally taxing raw materials. The project received significant support from Business Finland for a 14.4 million-euro, two-year project.
Demand for bio-based raw materials and other materials is growing rapidly in, e.g., the textile industry. In addition to utilising woody biomass, the downstream processing opportunities for agro biomass, like straw, are also being explored.
”Fortum already has significant competence with utilising biomass in district heating business and we are strongly committed also to development of the circular economy. We are living in a world with diminishing natural resources, and we aspire to be one of the forerunners in resource efficiency. For the world’s future, biomass is a valuable raw material that can be used to produce many more products of value than today,” says Fortum’s Risto Sormunen, Head of the Bio2X Program.
"Fortum's project will diversify the end-solutions of bio-based materials. It opens up new markets for Finnish bio-economy raw material producers and end-product manufacturers. The results of the project have a positive environmental impact and the project contributes to the goals of the bio and circular economy", says Ilmari Absetz, Director, Bio and Circular Economics.
Fortum and technology and refining partners will conduct research with the aim to create an industrial ecosystem in which biomass is refined in biovillages through collaboration between the companies.
"We want to invest in the development of collaboration networks because it is only through collaboration that we can achieve a sufficiently quick transformation. This could mean a significant opportunity for Nordic bioeconomy's future. Finland does have a lot of expertise, as evidenced by the number of start-up companies in the sector. It is our job to bring together this expertise and enable production growth to a commercial scale,” says Project Manager Hanne Wikberg from Fortum.
Outi Suomi, Program Manager for Bio and Circular Finland Program commends Fortum's development project: “This project creates preconditions for the development of new business. It enables both Fortum and the companies operating in the ecosystem to gain significant opportunities for renewal. ”
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Bio and Circular Finland program aims to make Finland a forerunner in the circular economy. The expected volume of the four-year program is EUR 300 million, of which the share of Business Finland's innovation funding is EUR 150 million. In addition, the program will offer internationalisation services and renewing ecosystems that will also attract foreign experts, companies and investors to Finland.