Bio-based foams are renewable and recyclable and can be used in packaging, for example, to replace oil-based polymer foams which are widely used today. The pilot plant will be located at Stora Enso’s Fors Mill in Sweden.
Cellufoam by Stora Enso is a sustainable packaging material and Stora Enso said it presents more opportunities to replace fossil-based materials with renewable and recyclable materials. The initial target application for Cellufoam will be the protective packaging of fragile products, for example in consumer electronics.
Bio-based foams also have the potential to replace polymeric foams in a range of markets and applications where the demand for sustainable materials is increasing, such as sports equipment, thermal insulation in shipments and as a growth medium in soil-free farming, among other areas.
“The interest in sustainable packaging solutions is already large and continuously growing. Companies are looking for bio-based materials in order to achieve their own environmental goals for recycling, reducing plastic waste and using fossil-free materials, while maintaining high-quality packaging performance,” Markus Mannström, executive vice president of Stora Enso’s biomaterials division, said.
“Our bio-based foam offers a renewable, recyclable and biodegradable alternative to traditional oil-based packaging foams such as expanded polyethylene (EPE) and expanded polystyrene (EPS). With this pilot, we continue to build on our long-term R&D work while introducing innovative materials to replace fossil-based ones.”
Stora Enso’s pilot aims to evaluate and validate Cellufoam as a packaging foam in customer tests and to further develop the production process. The new pilot plant will be part of Stora Enso’s biomaterials division.
The design and engineering of the pilot facility will start immediately. It is estimated the plant will be ready in the fourth quarter of 2021. Decisions about commercialization will follow, after evaluating the results.
Stora Enso’s Fors Mill today produces light-weight paperboards for consumer packaging. The modern mill’s energy production is free from fossil-CO2 emissions. The pilot plant investment will not impact the mill’s current production.