Navigation Links
Finland to lead the way as a designer of cellulose-based products

The combination of strong design competence and cutting-edge cellulose-based technologies can result in new commercially successful brands. The aim is for fibre from wood-based biomass to replace both cotton production, which burdens the environment, and polyester production, which consumes oil. A research project launched by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Aalto University and Tampere University of Technology aims to create new business models and ecosystems in Finland through design-driven cellulose products.

The joint research project is called Design Driven Value Chains in the World of Cellulose (DWoC). The objective is to develop cellulose-based products suitable for technical textiles and consumer products. The technology could also find use in the pharmaceutical, food and automotive industries. Another objective is to build a new business ecosystem and promote spin-offs.

The breakthrough for these new products and services is expected to take a few years. State-of-the-art cellulose processing technologies could generate production value of up to EUR 2𔃁 billion in Finland's forestry, textile and mechanical engineering industries, and in entirely new business sectors.

This is one of two strategic projects launched by Tekes Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation intended to help transform Finnish business life. The project received nearly EUR 3 million in funding from Tekes for the opening research stages in 2013.

Designers envision consumer products of the future Aalto University students participate in the project by offering fresh new perspectives on Finnish cellulose products.

"The research project provides an opportunity to use design methods to turn cellulose raw material into products, services and business. Designers contribute to the project by introducing an experimental method of creating prototypes, as well as the ability to visualise something that doesn't yet exist. This allows us to take consumer perspective into account at different stages of the programme," explains Professor Pirjo Kriinen from the Aalto University's Department of Design.

According to Kriinen, design as a strategic resource in the industry is so far relatively untapped. As a working method, industrial design brings a user-focused perspective to the project, opening new and unexplored opportunities for commercial use of the materials and for envisioning new products. This work combines with the creation of business ecosystems in line with the principles of sustainable development.

New materials and technologies are a source of inspiration to designers. The first sessions with technology developers were filled with excitement and bursts of innovation. For researchers, the notion of design needs affecting the material being created was particularly interesting.

New technologies in yarn manufacture

Researchers seek to combine Finnish design competence with cutting-edge technological developments to utilise the special characteristics of cellulose to create products that feature the best qualities of materials such as cotton and polyester. Product characteristics achieved by using new manufacturing technologies and nanocellulose as a structural fibre element include recyclability and individual production.

The first tests performed by professor Olli Ilkkala's team at the Aalto University showed that the self-assembly of cellulose fibrils in wood permits the fibrils to be spun into strong yarn. VTT has developed an industrial process that produces yarn from cellulose fibres without the spinning process. VTT has also developed efficient applications of the foam forming method for manufacturing materials that resemble fabric.

"In the future, combining different methods will enable production of individual fibre structures and textile products, even by using 3D printing technology," says Professor Ali Harlin from VTT.

Usually the price of a textile product is the key criterion even though produced sustainably. New methods help significantly to shorten the manufacturing chain of existing textile products and bring it closer to consumers to respond to their rapidly changing needs. Projects are currently under way where the objective is to replace wet spinning with extrusion technology. The purpose is to develop fabric manufacturing methods where several stages of weaving and knitting are replaced without losing the key characteristics of the textile, such as the way it hangs.

Finland's logging residue to replace environmentally detrimental cotton Cotton textiles account for about 40% of the world's textile markets, and oil-based polyester for practically the remainder. Cellulose-based fibres make up 6% of the market. Although cotton is durable and comfortable to wear, cotton production is highly water-intensive, and artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides are often needed to ensure a good crop. The surface area of cotton-growing regions globally equates to the size of Finland.

Approximately 5 million tons of fibre could be manufactured from Finland's current logging residue (25 million cubic metres/year). This could replace more than 20% of globally produced cotton, at the same time reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 120 million tons, and releasing enough farming land to grow food for 18 million people. Desertification would also decrease by approximately 10 per cent.


Contact: Ali Harlin
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland

Related biology news :

1. Florida Hospital collaborates with VTT of Finland
2. President, CEO Leppävuori, VTT: Finland should create a national bioeconomy strategy
3. Designer bacteria may lead to better vaccines
4. Biologists engineer algae to make complex anti-cancer designer drug
5. University of Albertas designer compounds inhibit prion infection
6. African scientist, designer partner to fashion anti-malaria garment that wards off bugs
7. Legionella bacteria found in compost products
8. hESC Products Market: Human Embryonic Stem Cell Patent IP Landscape Opportunity Analysis in New Research Report
9. The new frontier: Creating and marketing food products that prevent disease and obesity
10. REFORM, opening up the way for low environmental impact products
11. Researchers building stronger, greener concrete with biofuel byproducts
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/12/2015)... , Nov. 12, 2015  Arxspan has ... of MIT and Harvard for use of its ... information management tools. The partnership will support the ... biological and chemical research information internally and with ... be used for managing the Institute,s electronic laboratory ...
(Date:11/11/2015)... , Nov. 11, 2015   MedNet Solutions , an ... of clinical research, is pleased to announce that it will ... Trials (PCT) event, to be held November 17-19 in ... to view live demonstrations of iMedNet , ... how iMedNet has been able to deliver time ...
(Date:11/10/2015)... 10, 2015 About signature ... helps to identify and verify the identity of ... as the secure and accurate method of authentication ... particular individual because each individual,s signature is highly ... when dynamic signature of an individual is compared ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... The United States Golf Association (USGA) today announced Dr. Bruce Clarke, of ... since 1961, the USGA Green Section Award recognizes an individual’s distinguished service to the ... of Iselin, N.J., is an extension specialist of turfgrass pathology in the department of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... to maintain healthy metabolism. But unless it is bound to proteins, copper is ... of Health (NIH), researchers at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) will conduct a systematic ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... market research report "Oligonucleotide Synthesis Market by Product & ... Gene Synthesis, Diagnostic, DNA, RNAi), End-User (Research, Pharmaceutical & ... by MarketsandMarkets, the market is expected to reach USD ... 2015, at a CAGR of 10.1% during the forecast ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , November 24, 2015 ... recent market research report released by Transparency Market Research, ... expand at a CAGR of 17.5% during the period ... Testing Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, ... global non-invasive prenatal testing market to reach a valuation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: