Finland-headed forest industry major Metsä Group has announced the establishment of a new innovation company. Called Metsä Spring Ltd, the company will, together with partner organisations, invest in new endeavours with the target to identify and develop new business opportunities in sustainable forest-based bioeconomy and circular economy.
According to a statement, the new company will be headed by Niklas von Weymarn, Vice President, Research in Metsä Fibre, also part of Metsä Group who has been appointed CEO of Metsä Spring.
Located in the heart of the internationally-acknowledged Otaniemi innovation campus in Espoo, Finland, the establishment of Metsä Spring does not affect the current research and development activities of Metsä Group’s current business areas.
With the establishment of Metsä Spring, we want to create a new dimension to Metsä Group’s innovation activities and thereby participate more actively in the development of new business concepts in forest-based bioeconomy and circular economy. A large share of new ideas are generated outside our company and the new business concepts are increasingly developed in novel partnerships. The new innovation company enables Metsä Group to better take part in this activity, explained Metsä Group’s President and CEO and Metsä Spring’s Chairman of the Board Ilkka Hämälä.
The first concept to be included in Metsä Spring’s portfolio is the new textile fibre production method developed by Metsä Fibre. Now Metsä Spring is planning a greenfield demo plant with the capacity of about 500 tonnes of staple fibre per year.
The planning is based on the idea that the demo plant will be integrated to Metsä Group’s new bioproduct mill in Äänekoski. The planning work is done by an international team and the investment decision is expected by the end of this year.
The textile industry is seeking new, more sustainable textile fibre alternatives with low environmental footprint. The production method developed by Metsä Group is based on direct dissolution using novel compounds for the pulp dissolution stage. In contrary to the methods used commercially today, Metsä Group’s method relies on wet paper-grade pulp as the raw material.
It is important to develop new bioproducts that expand the current product portfolio of the forest industry. Textile fibre has great potential as a product and a natural first project for Metsä Spring. The company wants to be an active and respected player in developing new business concepts for various stages of the forest-based value chains, said Niklas von Weymarn, CEO, Metsä Spring.