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Upscaling of natural plastic alternatives: towards a sustainable industry

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GHGemissions of fossil-based plastics were 1.7 Gt of CO2 equivalent in 2015 and would reach 6.5 Gt CO2 equivalent by 2050 if the current plastic demand trend were to continue. However, legislations and consumers are pushing the plastic and composite industries to reduce the use of non-renewable materials and encouraging the use of recycled and renewable materials. One common and promising sustainable material to reinforce biobased and recycled plastic is micro-/nano-cellulose (MC/NC). Nevertheless, the production process of MC and NC is usually energy and water intensive, and it is today difficult to make plastic composites based on these materials in an efficient way. For that FineCell Sweden AB (FC) aims to develop and demonstrate an energy efficient process to produce micro-cellulose at pilot scale according to its patented technology. FC is a Swedish nanotechnology company that was founded in 2015. The company’s technology is based on advanced research conducted at KTH and delivers micro- and nano-sized cellulose. Unlike our competitors, FC’s innovation enables an energy efficient production of a dry micro cellulose powder that have great advantages in composite’s reinforcement as well as finer nanoparticles that can replace many oil-based ingredients in cosmetic products. FC aims through this project to increase its production capacity by using a continuous process and to enable the use of its cellulose materials for the development of new bio-reinforced, light and recyclable composites with a low life cycle GHG emissions as well as a sustainable multifunctional ingredient for cosmetic formulations.

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