In order to meet increasing customer demand, Stora Enso will broaden its biocomposites raw material base at the Hylte Mill, Sweden to provide more choice in technical properties and selection of fibres. The investment covers a new Biocomposites Competence Centre and the installation of new machinery for the milling of large fibres for the DuraSense™ by Stora Enso biocomposite material.

“As we see an increasing demand for the innovative DuraSense™ biocomposite, the diversification of the raw material base and the new Biocomposites Competence Centre will provide Stora Enso with faster access to the market for replacing fossil-based plastics with renewable ones,” says Jari Suominen, Executive Vice President, Stora Enso’s Wood Products division. “With our fully integrated process and excellent fibre knowledge we can enhance our growth in this market.”

“With the new equipment in place, Stora Enso will be able to provide more choice to DuraSense™ users in the technical properties and selection of fibres for the biocomposites, and also offer an attractive price position compared to traditional plastics. This will make it easier for customers to switch from existing material solutions to those based on biocomposites,” says Patricia Oddshammar, Head of Biocomposites in Stora Enso.

Production of large fibres is scheduled to start by the end of 2019.

The Biocomposites Competence Centre will be built in one of the existing buildings at Hylte Mill. The competence centre will house a laboratory and piloting facilities, performance testing capabilities and a show room. The building project for the competence centre is estimated to start in the 2018 and be completed during 2019.

“At the new Biocomposites Competence Centre we will be able to share our knowledge with our customers as well as assist them with test runs and product testing, step by step,” Oddshammar says.

The investment of EUR 7 million will further strengthen Stora Enso’s position as a renewable materials company. The biocomposite mill in Hylte started up earlier this year. Its annual production capacity is 15 000 tonnes, making it the largest wood fibre-based biocomposite plant in Europe. Although the new investment will not have significant impact on the production capacity, it will diversify the raw material base.

As previously communicated, once fully ramped up, the biocomposite business will increase Stora Enso’s Wood Products sales by approximately EUR 25 million and will exceed the division’s profitability target, operational return on operating capital (ROOC) of 20%.