Norske Skog Saugbrugs and Borregaard collaborating on bio composites

Photo: Norske Skog

Innovation Norway has allocated NOK 17 million for research and development of fiber composites at Norske Skog Saugbrugs and Borregaard. The parties will work to develop a new type of biocomposite that may include furniture, packaging and car interiors. Norske Skog and Borregaard will develop sustainable solutions related to plastic raw materials, fiber blending, technology development and testing of biocomposites.

- We want to contribute to decreased plastic consumption by creating new, green products with significantly reduced carbon footprint. Another goal is to find good solutions to recycle substantially more plastic than today, says Kjell-Arve Kure, MD at Norske Skog Saugbrugs.

In a research project amounting to NOK 20 million, Norske Skog Saugbrugs will seek to find solutions to problems related to plastic raw materials, fiber blending, technology development and biocomposite testing, in which Innovation Norway will contribute NOK 7 million. Borregaard's project, pulp-enhanced biocomposites, has a total budget of NOK 30 million, with funding from Innovation Norway amounting to NOK 10 million. The research and development to produce biocomposites will mainly take place at a demonstration plant being built at Norske Skog Saugbrugs.

- The goal is to reduce the use of fossil plastics by offering solutions for high value segments and advanced applications in plastics. In this way, the wood processing industry can help solve sustainability challenges in the plastics industry, says Per A. Sørlie, CEO of Borregaard.

The biocomposite consists of fiber from spruce, produced at the Saugbrugs and Borregaard plants, which together with thermoplastics are mixed and delivered as pellets to the plastics industry to produce various products such as furniture, car interiors, pipes, construction articles, consumables, packaging and more. The new innovation provides a biocomposite that replaces plastic, reduces fossil CO2 emissions, reduces oil consumption, provides better utilization of resources through increased use of recycled and renewable raw materials.

 - If these projects succeed, the potential for reducing CO2 emissions is considerable. At the same time, it is important to develop products that will be in great demand. Using recycled plastic and developing recyclable biocomposites can be an important step in the direction of a circular economy. These two companies have both the ability and the will to implement this demanding technology development. We see the collaboration between Borregaard and Norske Skog Saugbrugs as very positive, and hope the projects lead to the development of unique expertise in wood fiber, cellulose and biocomposites, says Håkon Haugli, CEO of Innovation Norway.