VTT, TKK and UPM establish Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies

(UPM, Helsinki, February 14, 2008 at 16.15) – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) and UPM have today established a Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies. The Centre aims to create new applications for cellulose as a raw material, substance and end product. Cellulose-based nanofibres can be used to alter the structure of the material and create new products.

The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies will start operating on 1 March 2008. Its operations will be centralised in Otaniemi, Espoo. The Centre will employ around 40 researchers. It is an equal consortium of three partners. The operations are being financed by public and private investments.

Cellulose fibres (30 micrometres wide, 2-3 millimetres long) consist of nanofibrils that are about one-thousandth of the dimensions of a cellulose fibre. One of the challenges in research is to produce large quantities of nanofibrils of even quality.

Nanofibrils provide a number of possibilities for treating wood fibre materials and adding completely new properties to them. The mechanical properties of raw materials can be improved, their moisture behaviour controlled, electrical properties changed or optical properties adjusted.

Applications include special papers, paper coating, packages and building materials. In addition to the paper and packaging industry, the construction, vehicle, furniture, electronics, food product and cosmetics industries can create added value for their products using tailored fibre materials.

The forest industry is going through a major transition, and the utilisation of new technologies will provide a means for strengthening the competitiveness in the sector. By combining basic research, applied research and productisation and business competence, the partners aim to speed up the launch of new profitable products on the world’s market in the near future.

Notes to editors:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the third biggest contract research organisation in Europe. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations and value added thus increasing customer's competitiveness. With its know how VTT produces research, development, testing and information services to public sector and companies as well as international organisations. www.vtt.fi

Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) is the leading technological university in Finland. TKK’s four faculties have 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Every year, about 1,000 students and more than 150 doctors graduate from TKK. This year, TKK will celebrate its one hundredth anniversary as a university. www.tkk.fi

UPM is one of the world’s leading forest products groups. The Group's sales in 2007 were EUR 10 billion, and it has about 26,000 employees. UPM's main products include printing papers, label materials and wood products. The company has production units in 14 countries and its main market areas are Europe and North America. UPM's shares are listed on stock exchange in Helsinki, and the company has an ADR programme on the OTC market in the United States. www.upm-kymmene.com

For further information, please contact:
Dr Pia Qvintus-Leino, Technology Manager, VTT, tel. +358 20 722 5314, pia.qvintus-leino@vtt.fi
Professor Janne Laine, Helsinki University of Technology, tel. +358 9 451 4233, janne.laine@tkk.fi
Mr Timo M. Koskinen, UPM, Research Center, Director, External Relations, tel. +358 40 732 5056, timo.m.koskinen@upm-kymmene.com