Latvijas Finieris, a global leading developer, producer and supplier of birch plywood products, has together with Stora Enso taken the next steps towards replacing phenol – in resins used in plywood – with lignin. This new lignin-based glue significantly reduces the carbon footprint of plywood products all the way from production to final end-use applications without compromising on technical performance.
Across markets, there are calls for change as consumers are increasingly turning to eco-friendly products. At the same time, the business demand for renewable, bio-based and circular solutions is growing rapidly. We want to do our part and replace fossil-based materials with safer and more natural alternatives.
Stora Enso has been working on developing lignin-based resin since 2017 in very close collaboration with Latvijas Finieris. Months of co-development, trials, industrial tests and commitment from both companies eventually led to the development of a lignin-based resin ideal for plywood products.
“Plywood is usually seen as a mature product in a rather mature market. We found the idea of using a lignin-based glue interesting and we welcome new innovations. We received proposals from some other potential suppliers as well, but we wanted to enter into a development partnership with Stora Enso as we already knew each other and had experience about successfully working together in the past,” explains Māris Būmanis, Head of Development Research at Latvijas Finieris.
“Reducing our carbon footprint offers us, as well as our customers, unbeatable environmental sales arguments. The benefits of working with Stora Enso include continuous industrial-scale availability of a wood-based raw material with a traceable origin and, hopefully, also a stable cost structure. This completes extremely well our corporate image as an industry leader,” he continues.
When questioned about Latvijas Finieris’ first reaction after hearing about a bio-based resin, Māris Būmanis, Head of Development Research, mentions – ”I saw it as an opportunity. It was clear to me that in case of success we would be able to improve our product basket, but if we didn’t succeed, we would gain new knowledge.”
But succeed they did. “Results of industrial production trials show that all technical properties of RIGA Plywood remain unchanged when the environmentally friendly glue RIGA ECOlogical is applied, containing Stora Enso’s kraft lignin Lineo™. Of course, it’s only the beginning. Our aim is to develop completely fossil-free plywood glue in the future, although there is still a lot of research work ahead to achieve that,” Būmanis concludes.
Stora Enso is very proud of this relationship and of the development of a lignin-based resin in collaboration with Latvijas Finieris. “It is the perfect example of a joint development project in which both companies were fully committed from initial discussions to industrial trials and finally commercialisation of RIGA ECOlogical,” highlights Mārtiņš Lācis, Head of Marketing, Sales, Purchasing and Logistics at Latvijas Finieris. Together, we were able to develop a bio-based solution and replace a fossil-based material in plywood. Products with RIGA ECOlogical glue are already available in the market under RIGA® product trademark.