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Finnish company extracts biomass constituents in single process


July 3, 2019
By P&PC Staff

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CH-Bioforce, a Finnish start-up founded by wood chemists, has developed an approach to fractionating biomass and converting all of its components into high-value material streams.
CH-Bioforce’s biomaterials (dissolving pulp, polymeric hemicellulose and sulphur-free lignin) can replace oil- and food-based raw materials in multiple areas such as textiles, packaging and cosmetics.

“Our deep understanding of fundamental biomass chemistry allows us to provide high-end biomaterials that are cost efficient and environmentally friendly. We are able to provide a completely new source of feedstock for various industries that, in turn, helps minimize their carbon footprint,” says Sebastian von Schoultz, the company’s co-founder and chief business officer, in a release.

CH-Bioforce’s technology extracts all three biomass constituents in the same process, which the company says is something unique in the market. Due to the lack of suitable technologies, hemicellulose and lignin tend to be burnt to generate energy, despite their extraordinary material properties.

CH-Bioforce can use almost any kind of biomass as feedstock, such as birch, pine or spruce.

“The process also works well using low-quality wood and agricultural residues such as straw, which were not suitable for commonly used pulping processes in the past,” says von Schoultz. “We are able to turn the whole spectrum of biomass sources into high-end, bio-based raw materials that are cost efficient and environmentally friendly.”

Together with its partners, CH-Bioforce has conducted intensive material testing and evaluations on the dissolving pulp, polymeric hemicellulose and sulphur-free lignin produced in its pilot plants. With funding from the EU’s Horizon 2020 SME Instrument, the company is now taking the final steps towards entering the market.

Says von Schoultz, “Textiles and packaging are the most obvious examples of applications where our biomaterials can be used, but there is also a huge amount of potential in a number of other fields such as bioplastics, medical applications and stabilizers for the food and cosmetic industries.”