BillerudKorsnäs to add MFC to its paperboard

After promising initial tests, BillerudKorsnäs is now moving ahead with full scale trials adding microfibrillated cellulose, MFC, to its paperboard products. The initiative is made possible through a new cooperation with Norwegian biorefinery pioneer Borregaard.

Recent development has allowed for industrial scale extraction of the components of cellulosic fibres in wood, the fibrils. For a paper and board maker, adding microfibrillated cellulose, MFC, in the production process opens up opportunities for new functionality and for further improved resource efficiency.

To explore these opportunities, BillerudKorsnäs has during 2016 carried out small scale testing in full production. Based on the results of these initial tests, the company has now decided on full scale trials to start in early 2017. BillerudKorsnäs' short term aim is achieving the same strength properties of its paperboard products, but with lesser material, so called light weighting. For the future, using MFC could possibly also be a key to replace the thin barrier layers of plastics or aluminium today often added to the otherwise renewable fibre based packaging.

The full scale trials are made possible through a new cooperation with Borregaard, a global leader in biorefinery innovation. Under this cooperation, BillerudKorsnäs will be supplied with MFC from the recently started MFC plant of Borregaard in Sarpsborg, Norway.

"By adding MFC we want to explore how to further improve our world class materials to make them even more competitive against their main competitor, fossil based plastic packaging. That is how we increase our positive contribution from a sustainability standpoint. We are enthusiastic over our cooperation with Borregaard and with them as our supplier of MFC in this development program,” says Magnus Wikström, CTO at BillerudKorsnäs.

Borregaard welcomes this cooperation with BillerudKorsnäs. Our Exilva MFC products have excellent strength and barrier properties and should hence be good materials for BillerudKorsnäs to further develop their position as a world leader in sustainable packaging solutions," said Pål Romberg, Excecutive Vice President Exilva.

Borregaard has used more than 10 years to develop the Exilva MFC technology and is the first company in the world to commercialize MFC through its new 1.000-ton plant, which started in Q3 this year.