The Swedish Energy Agency has granted SEK 14 million to RenCom – an innovation company active in making forest-based materials to replace fossil plastics. The support goes to a demonstration unit that will convert lignin from pulp mills in the size of 1000 tonnes per year in an industrially relevant scale.
“This support is an important milestone for our commitment in scaling up our lignin technology to become a leading player in the cross-section of the forest industry and the plastics industry through green chemistry,” says Christopher Carrick, CEO of RenCom.
“The demonstration can be a significant leap in the transition to more circular and bio-based products. Using lignin will contribute to a substantial biomass material efficiency, and the potential to transform the biobased economy. We believe it has a high industrial impact which will be important not only for the Swedish industry” says Klara Helstad, Head Sustainable Industry Unit at the Swedish Energy Agency.
Innovative granulates from the forest
Lignin – a component of wood that is the nature’s own binder – is usually incinerated for energy when producing pulp and paper. RenCom’s biorefinery concept has the potential to produce new products from lignin and thereby utilizing the most abundant by-product on earth. The technology offers the plastics industry a highly functionalized forest-based raw material, called RENOL, that will reduce the consumption of fossil plastics.
A contribution to a greener world with less fossil-based plastics
“We at BioInnovation has supported the development of Renol from the beginning. We think it is very positive that the Swedish Energy Agency enters and supports an industrial demo of a circular and bio-based material that may change and contribute to the transition to a greener and more sustainable world with less fossil-based plastics” says Anna Wiberg, Program Manager for BioInnovation.
RenCom aims to supply the plastic industry with granulates that will be converted into plastic bags, packaging materials, bottles or injection molded pieces. The material has been tried out by several partners in the plastic field and we at RenCom believe that the end products, containing RENOL, will be on the market already next year.
BioInnovation is a strategic innovation program in Sweden. The aim of the program is to promote bio-based development and innovation in three priority areas: Chemicals & Energy, Materials, and Construction & Design. The innovation program was initiated by the Swedish Forest Industries Federation, IKEM – the Innovation and Chemical Industries in Sweden and TEKO – Swedish Textile and Clothing Industries Association. The program is a public-private partnership funded by Vinnova, the Swedish Energy Agency and Formas, as well as participating stakeholders from business, academia, institutes and the public sector.