The two firms to develop new wood-based recyclable 3D fibre products to replace packages made using fossil raw materials


Illustration of Valmet's technology for the 3D fibre product production. (Credit: Valmet)

Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring has partnered with Finnish firm Valmet to jointly build a €20m greenfield pilot plant on Metsä Group’s mill site in Äänekoski, Finland, to produce new products from wood fibre.

The move forms a part of the two firm’s research and development (R&D) project, which focuses on the development of wood-based recyclable 3D fibre products to replace packages made using fossil raw materials.

Metsä Spring project head Jarkko Tuominen said: “Our objective is to develop a novel wood-based 3D fibre product, which can replace, for instance, packages made out of fossil raw materials. The pre-study phase with Valmet was a success.

“We have thus decided to accelerate the pace of development by constructing a pilot plant. I believe that our possibilities for developing a new significant added-value product for the Finnish forest industry are good.”

The pilot plant will feature Valmet’s technology

Expected to employ about 10 people, the pilot plant will feature Valmet’s technology that is designed to convert wet wood pulp into final 3D fibre products while eliminating the need for intermediate steps.

Using renewable, sustainably-grown and pure Finnish wood fibre, the plant will be capable of producing new environmentally-friendly 3D fibre products.

Valmet board and paper machines technology unit head Petri Rasinmäki said: “As a technology leader, Valmet brings unique technology and product development capabilities to this joint development project.

“This collaboration project with Metsä Spring is an excellent opportunity to develop totally new solutions that support sustainability.”

The partners are planning to initially develop a novel durable, environmentally-friendly and easy-to-use packaging for the food industry. The work would significantly expand for high volume market segments.

Construction on the pilot plant is planned to commence in the autumn of 2020 with completion scheduled by the end of 2021.