About this good practice
ExpandFibre is an R&D collaboration and an Ecosystem launched by Fortum (Finnish state-owned energy company) and Metsä Group (Finnish Forest industry group) to accelerate the development of sustainable bioproducts. It focuses on upgrading pulp fibres, hemicellulose and lignin from renewable and sustainable sources of straw and northern wood into new bioproducts. Its ambition is to meet the growing demands for sustainable textile fibres and other added value biomaterials. ExpandFibre aims to develop technologies and smart business concepts that are required to convert straw and pulp fibres into novel bioproducts, such as textile fibres.
The joint mission of Fortum and Metsä Group is to provide selected markets with high-volume bioproducts that have a significantly lower carbon footprint compared to currently available fossil-based products. ExpandFibre targets to create awareness, facilitate match-making, identify gaps and initiate the preparation of new R&D projects.
The ExpandFibre Ecosystem, consisting of a multitude of bioeconomy players, has a central role in co-creating new technologies and concepts that complement the R&D efforts of Fortum and Metsä Group.
The long-term objective is to provide markets with new bioproducts that have less than 20% of the carbon footprint of the current products. R&D carried out in ExpandFibre will
contribute to the target of Fortum, Metsä Group and the ecosystem partners to commercialize new bioproducts.
Expand Fibre is funded through a joint public-private funding scheme. Total budget of 50 M€ out of which 20 M€ is funded by Business Finland. Fortum’s share is 32 M€ (12.8 M€ funding) and Metsä Group’s 18 M€ (7.2 M€). The public funding covers for 40 % of the total funding.
Evidence of success
The initiative has substantial long-term objectives (2030 and beyond), which, if actualized, would bring significant benefits:
– Provide markets with new bioproducts that have less
than 20% of the carbon footprint of the current
products (replacement of fossils materials).
– Bring new revenue to ecosystem partners through the
increasing production and sale of new value-added
bioproducts and technologies.
– Significantly increase investments into biomass-based
Potential for learning or transfer
Expand Fibre is funded through a joint public-private partnership project funding scheme from a national funding organisation Business Finland, operating under the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. Partnership projects that advance the green transition are largely funded through the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) in accordance with the national Sustainability Growth Programme.
The ecosystem consist of:
– 88 ecosystem members (84 % FIN members & 16% international members)
– 17 Ecosystem projects
– 3-4 thematic events annually (webinars, workshops etc.) and two main annual events 1) ExpandFibre Ecosystem annual seminar & 2) ExpandFibre annual public seminar
– Ecosystem annual survey conducted every year to receive detailed feedback from the Ecosystem. 2nd edition of survey carried out in Aug-Sep 2022.
– Communication & Dissemination: 74 articles/news published on expandfibre.com since the start of ExpandFibre.