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Stora Enso invests EUR 7 million in new Biocomposite Competence Centre

In order to meet increasing customer demand, Finland-headed global forest industry major Stora Enso Oyj says it will broaden its biocomposites raw material base at the Hylte Mill, Sweden to provide more choice in technical properties and selection of fibres. A new EUR 7 million investment will cover a new Biocomposites Competence Centre and the installation of new machinery for the milling of large fibres for its "DuraSense" biocomposite material.

DuraSense granules are a new wood-fibre based composite product family by Stora Enso that are suitable for a wide range of applications that offer the mouldability of plastic with the sustainability and workability of wood (photo courtesy Stora Enso)

As we see an increasing demand for the innovative DuraSense biocomposite, the diversification of the raw material base and the new Biocomposites Competence Centre will provide Stora Enso with faster access to the market for replacing fossil-based plastics with renewable ones. With our fully integrated process and excellent fibre knowledge we can enhance our growth in this market, remarked Jari Suominen, Executive Vice President, Stora Enso’s Wood Products division.

Production of large fibres by the end of 2019

The Biocomposites Competence Centre will be built in one of the existing buildings at Stora Enso Hylte Mill in Sweden. The competence centre will house a laboratory and piloting facilities, performance testing capabilities and a showroom. The building project for the competence centre is estimated to start in the 2018 and be completed during 2019.

With the new equipment in place, Stora Enso will be able to provide more choice to DuraSense users in the technical properties and selection of fibres for the biocomposites, and also offer an attractive price position compared to traditional plastics. This will make it easier for customers to switch from existing material solutions to those based on biocomposites, said Patricia Oddshammar, Head of Biocomposites at Stora Enso.

The EUR 7 million investment will further strengthen Stora Enso’s position as a renewable materials company. The biocomposite mill in Hylte started up earlier this year. Its annual production capacity is 15 000 tonnes, making it the largest wood fibre-based biocomposite plant in Europe. Although the new investment will not have a significant impact on the production capacity, it will diversify the raw material base.

At the new Biocomposites Competence Centre we will be able to share our knowledge with our customers as well as assist them with test runs and product testing, step by step, Oddshammar said.

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