Beyond Circularity: Joining forces for emission-free pulping

Feb 13, 2024

Valmet joins the Emission Free Pulping research program, where the forest industry, other technology companies, research organizations, and universities will collaborate to revolutionize the traditional pulping processes.

The Emission Free Pulping research program aims to significantly reduce biomass burning and increase the product yield of wood material used for pulping from approximately 50% to around 70%. The budget for this program is expected to be about EUR 15 million over the next five years.

“I believe we need to have this type of longer-term development initiatives in our portfolio, firstly to move the pulp industry forward, and secondly to attract future talents into Valmet,” says Ari Saario, Vice President, Strategy and R&D, Pulp and Energy, Valmet.

The program is also a part of Valmet’s Beyond Circularity program, which is an own R&D program and ecosystem to transform waste and emissions into valuable resources for sustainable growth and accelerating the green transition.

“Due to the limited nature of forest resources, the growth opportunities for the industry are constrained. Moreover, the burning of biomass in the pulping process results in the emission of biogenic CO2. To significantly enhance resource efficiency and increase the value added from wood, revising the chemical processes and unit operations used in the pulping process is essential,” says Atte Virtanen, Vice President of biomaterial processing and products at VTT. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is jointly leading the program with RISE Research Institutes of Sweden

The expertise and knowledge from his program will be internationally groundbreaking, and the program's results are expected to have wide-ranging effects. Around twenty full-time researchers will work in the program to find ways to improve energy efficiency, enhance the efficiency of wood usage and conversion to products, achieve emission-free pulping (especially carbon dioxide emissions), and significantly reduce water usage in the processes.

We invite industry leaders and scientists from around the world to join our consortium, participating in spearheading research that aims to transform pulping processes for better energy and material efficiency. 

Emission Free Pulping – in a nutshell

  • A 5-year international research program.
  • Consortium coordination VTT, scientific lead RISE.
  • Business Finland granted the program with a 3-year funding of EUR 5.1 million.
  • The total budget is expected to exceed EUR 15 million.
  • Companies involved: Valmet, ANDRITZ, Arauco, Metsä Group, Stora Enso, UPM
  • Universities and research institutions involved: VTT, RISE, Aalto University, Chalmers University of Technology, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, LUT University, Mid Sweden University, University of Helsinki, University of Oulu, Åbo Akademi University.