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Stora Enso to build a pilot plant for bio-based packaging foam in Sweden

Global forest industry major Stora Enso Oyj has announced that it will build a pilot facility for producing "Cellufoam by Stora Enso", a lightweight, fiber-based foam material for protective packaging and cushioning. Bio-based foams are renewable and recyclable and can be used in packaging, for example, to replace oil-based polymer foams which are widely used today. The pilot plant will be located at Stora Enso’s Fors Mill in Sweden.

Stora Enso is to build a pilot facility at its Fors mill in Sweden for producing “Cellufoam by Stora Enso”, a lightweight, fiber-based foam material for protective packaging as an alternative to fossil-based foams (photo courtesy Stora Enso Biomaterials).

According to a statement, “Cellufoam by Stora Enso” is a sustainable packaging material and it further increases the company’s opportunities to replace fossil-based materials with renewable and recyclable materials. The initial target application for Cellufoam will be the protective packaging of fragile products, for example in consumer electronics.

Bio-based foams also have the potential to replace polymeric foams in a range of markets and applications where the demand for sustainable materials is increasing, such as sports equipment, thermal insulation in shipments and as a growth medium in soil-free farming, among other areas.

The interest in sustainable packaging solutions is already large and continuously growing. Companies are looking for bio-based materials in order to achieve their own environmental goals for recycling, reducing plastic waste and using fossil-free materials, while maintaining high-quality packaging performance. Our bio-based foam offers a renewable, recyclable and biodegradable alternative to traditional oil-based packaging foams such as expanded polyethylene (EPE) and expanded polystyrene (EPS). With this pilot, we continue to build on our long-term R&D work while introducing innovative materials to replace fossil-based ones, said Markus Mannström, EVP of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.

Pilot to be built at Stora Enso Fors mill

Located in Fors, Sweden, Stora Enso’s Fors Mill currently produces around 410 000 tonnes of world-class light-weight paperboards for consumer packaging and 185 000 tonnes of chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp per annum. The modern mill’s energy production is free from fossil carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

Stora Enso’s pilot aims to evaluate and validate Cellufoam as a packaging foam in customer tests and to further develop the production process. The new pilot plant will be part of Stora Enso’s Biomaterials division.

The design and engineering of the pilot facility will start immediately. It is estimated that the plant will be ready in the fourth quarter of 2021. Decisions about commercialisation will follow, after evaluating the results of the pilot-scale production.

The pilot plant investment, the value of which has not been disclosed, will not impact the mill’s current production.

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