Cellulose replaces plastic in future packaging material

The PlastiCel project group, from the left Ulrika Andreasson (SCA), Magnus Norgren (Miun), Maria Edblad (MoRe Research), Kristin Syverud (RISE PFI) and Bo Westerlind (Miun). Photo: Anna Svedberg.

Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall and MoRe Research in Örnsköldsvik Sweden are cooperating with the Norwegian research institute RISE PFI on the PlastiCel project. The aim is to develop composite materials from nanocellulose and cellulose, which can be used as a barrier for heat, air and moisture. This means that products such as fish trays which are mostly made from plastic today, might in the future consist of temperature isolating composite materials made from cellulose and nanocellulose, with good barrier characteristics against air and moisture.


The aim is to develop a packaging which can withstand long transports and thus could be used to transport fish. The packaging is coated with a thin film made from plasticised cellulose and nanocellulose, giving a barrier against oxygen. The core of the packaging is a foam made from plasticised cellulose and nanocellulose, giving isolating characteristics to retain a low temperature in the packaging during transport.


“At Mid Sweden University we conduct basic research on composite materials made from cellulose and nanocellulose,” says Magnus Norgren, Professor Chemical Engineering, Mid Sweden University. “We really look forward to this cooperation and hope that we together with our partners can deepen the research further while at the same time developing new products which may replace fossil based plastic in the society.”


“In order to reduce the vast amounts of plastic which end up in the oceans, it is important to replace plastic in all applications where it is feasible,” says Malin Brodin, Research Scientist at RISE PFI. “Cellulose is biologically degradable in nature and is a good alternative raw material for plastic films and isolating foams for packing.”


“PlastiCel is one more nanocellulose project where our experimental paper machine will be important for production of interesting materials with nanocellulose as a key component,” says Maria Edblad, Market coordinator at MoRe Research.


PlastiCel is a Swedish-Norwegian research project with researchers from RISE PFI in Trondheim, Mid Sweden University in Sundsvall and MoRe Research in Örnsköldsvik. Industry partners are SCA, Domsjö Fabriker, Essge-Plast, Ranheim Paper and Board, Tommen Gram and BEWi. The project is financially supported by the EU regional development fund Interreg.