The SUSBINCO (sustainable binders and coatings) project, launched in 2021 and receiving €10.1 million in funding from government department Business Finland, is seeking to develop 80-100% bio-based products to replace fossil-based raw materials and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Global coatings company Teknos is part of the SUSBINCO project, and says the challenges of fully bio-based products are often related to price, the availability of raw materials, and the lack of existing supply chains.

The firm adds that technical properties pose demands as coatings must protect the object and be safe to use, and applications for food packaging are particularly challenging, such as cardboard cups or fast-food trays, where product and user safety are strongly regulated.

Teknos states the products created through SUSBINCO are intended to be used in fibre-based packaging, packaging materials, wood products, paints, adhesives, sealants, and abrasives.

The research coordinated by Clic Innovation is now at the halfway point, with the participants looking into possibilities to utilise side streams and waste from the Finnish wood industry, such as bark and biomass, as substitutes for fossil raw materials. The project is scheduled finish at the end of 2023, followed by product launch and exporting.

Pasi Virtanen, group R&D manager for innovations at Teknos, says: “I would say that we are already quite close [to] having the toolbox built for biobased coatings and binders. On the other hand, when we talk about packaging solutions, and especially if we mean food contact coatings, it will take more time, even years, just because of product safety.”

Alongside its participation in SUSBINCO, Teknos has been researching independently how bio-based solutions can be utilised in the company’s own products, aiming to bring bio-based binders and coatings to consumer and professional paint products, powder paints and UV-curable products as well as packaging.