(UPM, Helsinki, 15 November 2011 at 10.00) – UPM has started pre-commercial production of fibril cellulose and is currently developing new fibril cellulose applications with industrial partners.
UPM initiated the fibril cellulose product development process in 2008. Pre-commercial production began this autumn at Otaniemi, Espoo, Finland. UPM is now able to provide different types of fibril cellulose for extensive customer testing. UPM's objective is to create the preconditions needed for industrial-scale production of fibril cellulose.
"Fibril cellulose is part of UPM's renewal and our Biofore strategy. We are currently focusing on commercialising fibril cellulose. The first stage mainly consists of developing products used in paper and packaging materials and the concrete and paint industries. We are also looking for new partners to develop new applications," says Esa Laurinsilta, Director, UPM Fibril Cellulose.
The production process used by UPM for fibril cellulose is the result of long-term development. The fibres in the most finely grained products are fibrils measured at the nano scale. The rougher products consist of micrometre fibres. UPM has protected the results of the development work with comprehensive patents that cover the manufacture of fibril cellulose and the applications.
Fibril cellulose can be used in a wide range of applications. UPM's fibril cellulose provides new properties and design opportunities for traditional materials; it can be used to make products tougher, lighter or thinner, depending on the application.
When water is added to fibril cellulose, a strong gel structure is created. Therefore, fibril cellulose can be used in many industrial applications requiring high stabilisation capacity and high viscosity.
UPM's fibril cellulose has proved to be functional in several application tests over the past few years. "In October, we produced the first industrial-scale batch of speciality paper reinforced with fibril cellulose at the UPM Tervasaari mill," Laurinsilta says.
Laurinsilta stresses the importance of the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) and the development partners for the new product: "Forty researchers at the Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies have developed fibril cellulose for UPM in cooperation with the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Aalto University."
For further information, please contact:
Esa Laurinsilta, Director, Fibril Cellulose, New Businesses & Development, UPM, tel: +358 40 821 0350
See UPM Viewpoint videoblog with Esa Laurinsilta providing more information about fibril cellulose at www.upm.com > UPM Blog. UPM, Corporate Communications Media Desk, tel. +358 (0) 40 588 3284
UPM leads the way in integrating bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. The company’s business is divided into three business areas: Energy and Pulp, Paper and Engineered Materials. UPM employs around 24,500 people and has production facilities in sixteen countries. The company’s annual turnover amounts to more than EUR 10 billion. UPM's shares are listed on the Helsinki Stock Exchange. UPM – The Biofore Company – www.upm.com
UPM New Businesses and Development (NBD) is an important part of UPM's reform and Biofore strategy. The objective of NBD is to provide added value to renewable wood raw material by refining ideas into new products and business ideas. Its key projects include new fibre materials, fibril cellulose and biochemicals. www.upm.com/fibrilcellulose