This autumn, the Södra Research Foundation called for research projects with a ‘Resource efficiency’ theme. SEK 8 million has now been granted to seven research projects with topics ranging from the core products and processes of the forest industy, to new innovations in the use of forest byproducts.

One of the projects being funded is called ‘Resource-efficient chipping of spruce bark-beetle damaged wood for chemical pulp production.’ This project focuses on developing a new drum-chipping technology for the pulping process.

“This new technology could lead to higher raw material utilisation and higher pulp yields, especially when using wood with low moisture content. We want to use our raw materials as efficiently as possible therefore, any improvement to our processes and equipment that leads to a higher fibre yield is of major interest to the entire forest industry,” said Catrin Gustavsson, President of Innovation and New Business at Södra.

Other projects are focused on the timber industry with aims ranging from increased utilisation of spruce for sustainable façades, bio-based surface treatments for wood and digitalisation of timber drying processes.

“In the move towards a bio-based society, wood holds a unique position as a raw material from a renewable source. If we want to remain competitive in the timber industry, we will have to introduce new measurement techniques and increase our use of digitalisation and robotics,” said Göran Örlander, forestry strategist and Chairman of the Södra Research Foundation.

Funding is also going to projects focusing on developing new forest-based materials and processes. Examples include the production of carbon fibre from kraft lignin and cellulose, porous materials for medical use, and a new process for the extraction of vanillin and vanillic acid from lignin.

“Finding new products, processes and applications for the forest industry’s by-products is an important complement to our existing business and contributes to the replacement of fossil-based products,” said Catrin Gustavsson.