Displaying items by tag: vtt

At the beginning of 2021 VTT started to buy renewable electricity verified with a guarantee of origin for its premises. The change significantly reduced the annual greenhouse gas emissions from VTT's operations. Meanwhile, it is an important step toward VTT's goal of carbon neutrality.

Sustainability is at the core of VTT's strategy, and with respect to environmental responsibility, the goals include carbon neutrality by 2030. This requires significant action aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

vtt logo 2022Consumption of electricity has been the overwhelming source of emissions caused by VTT activities. The transition to renewable electricity verified by a guarantee of origin changed the situation.

“The estimated greenhouse gas emissions from electricity bought by VTT were more than 9,000 tons in 2020. In 2021 this had gone down to about 600 tons. The change is truly significant”, says Senior Scientist Hanna Pihkola. In 2021 93% of the electricity consumed by VTT was under a guarantee of origin.

As the production of renewable energy also produces greenhouse gas emissions, the shift to renewable energy raised indirect emissions connected with VTT operations to some degree. However, the increase is fairly small compared with the reduction of emissions from the use of electricity.

Next attention to heating, air travel, and procurements

The reduction in emissions from the use of electricity is taking VTT closer to its carbon neutrality goal, but much work remains to be done. After the use of electricity, the greatest emissions caused by VTT come from the heating of buildings and air travel.

VTT's next development targets on the way to the carbon neutrality goal of 2030 are:

  • ascertaining the possibilities of procuring low-emission, or carbon neutral district heating
  • improving energy efficiency
  • reducing flight emissions
  • taking climate impact into account in the procurement of goods and services.

“Carbon neutrality by 2030 is an ambitious goal. To achieve the goal, much work needs to be done and many stones need to be turned in different parts of the organisation. When all possible measures to reduce them have been implemented, we will also have to ponder how best to compensate for the emissions that remain”, Pihkola says.

VTT's annual greenhouse gas emissions have been evaluated according to the principles of the ISO14064-1:2018 (carbon footprint calculations for an organisation) standard since 2018. The emissions are reported as part of VTT's annual and corporate responsibility report.

VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time, and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have 80 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together.

VTT – beyond the obvious


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Finland is among the world leaders in drone research. Researchers’ next goal is to develop the technology and test how a swarm of coordinating drones equipped with AI can detect and prevent forest fires.

How can a forest fire be detected early enough? How can up-to-date information on the progress of the fire and a forecast of how it will spread in the next hour be obtained? Geospatial data is crucial in preventing, monitoring and extinguishing forest fires. Information on current forest fires is already available using satellites, but there are no efficient methods to quickly detect small and recently started forest fires and monitor the fire in real time. The FireMan consortium formed by the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) of the National Land Survey of Finland (NLS), the University of Jyväskylä, the University of Oulu and the researchers from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is taking up the challenge. The project will run from 2022 to 2024, funded by the Academy of Finland. 

“We’re developing a new AI-based drone technology to quickly detect forest fires and provide situational awareness when extinguishing the fires,” says Professor Eija Honkavaara from NLS, who is leading the project. 

There is a global demand for innovative solutions for preventing forest fires. According to statistics, more than 400,000 hectares of forest burned down in 2019, which was the worst year for forest fires in Europe. This grim record was broken last year: by the end of October, half a million hectares of forest had already burned down in Europe. Forest fires are expected to increase due to global warming. So forest fire control is also of interest in Finland – 75 per cent of our land area is forest. 

The National Land Survey of FinlandThe National Land Survey of Finland

Communication must work even in remote areas

In the FireMan project, universities and research centres are developing solutions for forest fire control and simultaneously conducting scientific research in autonomous flying, digital modelling and communication. 

The task of the Finnish Geospatial Research Institute (FGI) is to develop a decision support system based on digital twins for controlling forest fires, i.e. a real-time digital modelling of the forest fire area. It also offers accurate data on how the fire is progressing. 

“Drones can help us in providing real-time information on how the fire front is progressing, and how high and hot the flames are. We’re developing methods to locate a swarm of drones and produce remote sensing data in real time. In addition, we’re developing sensor technology that surpasses the ability of the human eye in terms of seeing through smoke,” says Eija Honkavaara. 

The University of Jyväskylä is researching forecast models for fire progression and ways to optimise AI algorithms in real-time analytics. 
“Forest fire progression can be modelled numerically, considering topographical features, vegetation and wind direction. In this project, we use forecast models to teach the AI so that it can assess the fire progression based on remote sensing data collected in real time,” says Associate Professor Ilkka Pölönen from the University of Jyväskylä.

The researchers from the University of Oulu are focusing on crisis communication and determining the possibilities of 5G and 6G networks. 
“Drones will form a new device category in the future and create new requirements for mobile networks. The performance of the broadband connection from the device to the network will be crucial. The connections will also have to work reliably in remote areas and at typical flight altitudes,” explains Tuomo Hänninen from the University of Oulu.

The goal: independent fire drones that work as a team

Drones must be able to monitor wide forest areas and react and act independently as required in fire situations. It is essential that drones operate as a group in a fire situation. 

In the project, the researchers will test how a swarm of drones will cooperate in a forest fire situation.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is responsible for optimising the swarm of drones in crisis situations and developing operating concepts in cooperation with various stakeholders. 
“The study of the FireMan consortium aims to combine various AI technologies from self-correcting forecast models to autonomous cyber-physical systems,” says Research Professor Fabrice Saffre from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland.

“In practice, the research conducted in this project focuses on seamless cooperation between humans and autonomous systems. We need to consider all the existing knowledge and the needs of users. We will therefore invite all interested parties to jointly develop all of this with us,” says Hannu Karvonen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, who is leading the project team responsible for planning operating concepts.  

Drones tested during prescribed burning

In the FireMan project, the researchers will test the drones in practice. Material is collected during prescribed burning by Metsähallitus and the Finnish Forest Centre. The first drone flights will take place as early as the spring of 2022. 

A demonstration will be held at the end of the project in which drones are operating as a group in observing and monitoring a situation such as a forest fire. 

The FireMan project enhances the Finnish top research of drones. In a recent comparison, the knowledge cluster unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensing was ranked as the fourth in scientific impact in Finland among more than 1000 identified knowledge clusters.

VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time, and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have 80 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together.

VTT – beyond the obvious


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Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, is participating in a joint project called SEED, led by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, in which forest companies are developing new digital solutions together with companies in the ICT industry.

In the two-year project, forest industry mills will serve as innovation platforms for app developers and research institutions focused on solving production challenges. The cooperation aims to find new digital solutions that increase production efficiency.

Metsä Board - Simpele - Mill portrait - Sheet labelingMetsä Board - Simpele - Mill portrait - Sheet labeling

Metsä Board’s pilot project focuses on the management of spare parts’ data content, the goal being to unify and expand the master data of spare part names with the help of automation and artificial intelligence. If successful, the project would reduce maintenance costs significantly and the technology could also be applied to the needs of other business areas.

“We’re looking forward to the experimental concept development for increasing the productivity of mills. When we combine a mill’s systems, the data online and the know-how of our experts, we can expect new and so far unforeseen opportunities,” says Maintenance Director Perttu Vikman from Metsä Board.

The total volume of SEED project is approximately EUR 7 million. Its main sponsor is Business Finland. When the project kicked off, there were a total of 20 companies involved.

Metsä Board

Metsä Board is a leading European producer of premium fresh fibre paperboards including folding boxboards, food service boards and white kraftliners. Our lightweight paperboards are developed to provide better, safer and more sustainable solutions for consumer goods as well as retail-ready and food service applications. We work together with our customers on a global scale to innovate solutions for better consumer experiences with less environmental impact. The pure fresh fibres Metsä Board uses are a renewable resource, traceable to origin in sustainably managed northern forests.

The global sales network of Metsä Board supports customers worldwide, including brand owners, retailers, converters and merchants. In 2018, the company’s sales totalled EUR 1.9 billion, and it has approximately 2,400 employees. Metsä Board, part of Metsä Group, is listed on the Nasdaq Helsinki.

Metsä Group

Metsä Group is a forerunner in sustainable bioeconomy utilising renewable wood from sustainably managed northern forests. Metsä Group focuses on wood supply and forest services, wood products, pulp, fresh fibre paperboards and tissue and greaseproof papers.

In 2018, Metsä Group’s sales totalled EUR 5.7 billion, and it employs approximately 9,300 people. Metsäliitto Cooperative is the parent company of Metsä Group and is owned by approximately 103,000 Finnish forest owners.

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GRETE, the Green chemicals and technologies for the wood-to-textile value chain project, has been granted EUR 2.6 million by the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU), which is partnership between the EU and the Bio-based Industries Consortium. The project will improve the existing wood-to-textile value chains by developing breakthrough technologies that can open up the identified bottlenecks and enable increased production of man-made cellulose fibres in Europe.

The GRETE project will tackle the bottlenecks of creating wood-to-textile value chains by developing innovative technologies for wood pulp modification, cellulose dissolution and fibre quality generation. Currently, the raw material base for the production of man-made cellulose fibres is limited as only dissolving grade wood pulps are used commonly. The project will tackle this by widening the sustainable raw material basis for man-made cellulose fibres.

vtt logo 2019“More sustainable textile fibres are in high demand. A route of great potential, in this respect, is wood-based textile fibres. With the GRETE project we aim to find improved technologies for the wood-to-textile fibre value chain“, explains CEO Niklas von Weymarn, Metsä Spring.

The solvent systems used for the production of commercial man-made cellulose viscose and lyocell fibres are based on toxic and explosive chemicals, but the GRETE technologies will increase safety, sustainability and feasibility of man-made cellulose fibre manufacturing. Currently, there are several steps in the textile production value chain, e.g. finishing treatments and dyeing of textiles, which cause extensive freshwater pollution. Fibres with novel functional properties open up the possibility for targeted and water-scarce finishing treatments.

The Executive Director for Innovation and Technological Development at Altri SA, Gabriel Sousa, describes their motivation for taking part in the project: “By participating in the GRETE project, Celbi SA - a subsidiary of Altri SA - will gain understanding on the pulp-regenerated cellulose-textile value chain and technologies and also understand the key requirements and specs for pulp on future markets. Celbi also aims to gain a clear view on the viability of ionic liquids use for cellulosic textile fibres.”

The issues to be solved in the project play a significant role in developing sustainable and green technologies for the European industry. The industrial partners of the project are strongly committed to the project and a separate stakeholder group will provide assistance to strategic decision-making. The consortium is led by VTT, and is built around many of the most distinguished research centres and universities acting in this field.

The project is coordinated by VTT. Partners: University of Helsinki, Universität für Bodenkultur Wien, Universidade de Aveiro, Metsä Fibre Oyj, Celbi SA, Material Connexion Italia SRL and Vertech Group.

VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have over 75 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT´s turnover and other operating income is 268 M€.

VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together.

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In the future, it will be possible to control a paper machine, for example, on the basis of its carbon footprint. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing a software tool for on-line life cycle assessment that offers information to the operators of production equipment or an entire plant concerning the impacts of operational procedures on product-based environmental loading.

Climate change and increasing shortages of natural resources are encouraging business enterprises to clarify how their products and services are burdening the environment throughout their entire life cycle. Methods include the calculation of carbon footprints, acidification or eutrophication of waterways, use of fossil raw materials and rare minerals, and nitrogen and sulphur emissions. However, the means to understand the environmental impacts of emissions caused during production on a real time basis are still inadequate.

vtt logoThere are several advantages to monitoring production-based environmental impacts in real time. Not only can processes be optimised more precisely, but all employees participating in the control process can also see the effects on the environment resulting from their decisions. For example, the operator of a paper machine can see, in real time, how the running of the machine impacts its carbon footprint.

VTT is developing an on-line LCA software tool that provides data to the operators of production equipment, a process section or an entire plant concerning the impacts of procedures on production- and product-based environmental loading. The system reacts to changes made during production and provides its users with information on environmental loading related to these changes.

The system also takes the procurement of raw materials into consideration in the life cycle assessment.

VTT’s research scientists have tested the modelling tool by connecting it to a distillation column control system at Tampere University of Technology. The test indicated that the method is technically feasible. Introducing the modelling tool to the data transfer chain of the entire plant as well as to its historical materials data still requires cooperation with the process facilities and automation suppliers.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 723661. 

Further information:

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Jouni Savolainen, Senior Scientist
tel. +358 40 8298982, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tiina Pajula, Principal Scientist
tel. +358 40 5899013, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

VTT is a visionary research, development and innovation partner. We drive sustainable growth and tackle the biggest global challenges of our time and turn them into growth opportunities. We go beyond the obvious to help the society and companies to grow through technological innovations. We have over 75 years of experience of top-level research and science-based results. VTT´s turnover and other operating income is 258 M€. VTT is at the sweet spot where innovation and business come together. VTT – beyond the obvious

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Funding for a major study into the future strategic needs of the forestry industry in the State's south-east has been boosted to more than $1 million.

Manufacturing Innovation and Trade Minister, Tom Kenyon today announced a further $330,000 was being provided by the State Government for Stage 2 of the Cellulose Fibre Chain Study with the federal government committing another $250,000.

"This is on top of a $500,000 contribution from the State Government in October last year for Stage 1 of this vital study," Mr Kenyon said.

"The south east forestry industry accounts for approximately 35 percent of local employment and offers great potential for the region to secure a sustainable economic future.

"The Cellulose Fibre Chain Study - part of the State Government's Manufacturing Works strategy - involves working with local industry to identify short, medium and longer term sustainable and achievable market opportunities.

"This is an important project for South Australia's economy as developing higher-value forestry products is the key to creating a sustainable future for the forestry industry.

"That's why we went out and actively sought the involvement of the VTT Technical Research Centre in Finland.

"They're world leaders in translating cellulose fibre opportunity research into tangible business opportunities with global connections to major international cellulose fibre players and investors."

Mr Kenyon said the VTT's Stage 1 report released today included analysis of the value chains associated with the south east forestry sector and the landscape for future opportunities based on interviews with more than 20 industry groups.

Federal Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet said he was pleased to support the study which could prepare south east South Australia to compete internationally in the forestry industry by producing niche, high-value products of its own.

"This project presents a great opportunity to develop an innovative, renewable feedstock for industry in South Australia," Mr Combet said.

"We've seen examples of the benefits of an innovative cellulose fibre value-chain in Northern Europe, so I look forward to supporting South Australian companies interested in working towards that.

"The Federal Government is proud to be funding this initiative with the South Australian Government and we will continue to support local innovation and local manufacturing jobs in SA's south-east."

Stage 1 of the study indicated:

• There is general agreement on the need to renew the industry
• In the absence of a pulp mill in Mt Gambier area, the use of chips and saw dust for bioenergy, biochemical or biomaterial generation should be given serious consideration
• The future of the industry should not be based on a low Australian dollar
• Raw material in the Green Triangle is cheaper than corresponding material in Scandinavia
• Average sales price in Australia for sawn timber appear higher than prices in Northern Europe
• However, low profitability in Australia appears to be linked to poorer yield for average size logs
• The industry has not been implementing modern process technologies
• A more highly trained workforce is necessary to improve industry profitability.

Mr Kenyon said the additional $580,000 funding for Stage 2 would enable the VTT to develop a plan for producing more sustainable and higher-value products.

"This will involve an analysis of local industry readiness to take up new technology, consultation with the industry globally, particularly in Northern Europe, preparing a draft agenda for joint research and development projects and policy recommendations to State Government."

source: investinaustralia.com

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VTT invests to new sustainable and added value fibre-based products for the forest sector

Foam forming technology gives exciting opportunities to develop new recyclable and light weight wood fiber products. It also gives a possibility to decrease raw material and production costs remarkably compared to recent technology. VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, together with industry has started setting up a new pilot scale technology platform for foam forming applications.

With foam forming technology it is possible to improve paper properties and enable to manufacture high porosity, smooth and light weight products (e.g. hygiene products, insulation materials and filters). It may be solution for various printed intelligence, nano- or microcellulose applications.

"The foam forming technology requires significantly less water than conventional paper and board manufacturing. In foam forming large amounts of air is mixed to fiber furnish which makes possible to achieve unique product properties. Technology reduces water and energy consumption while saving raw material. Laboratory results from the Forestcluster programmes have shown potential for remarkable fiber savings states Technology Manager Janne Poranen from VTT.

New business opportunities for forest sector

At the beginning of this year VTT launched a KOTVA project targeting to scaleup foam forming technology to SUORA. SUORA is a pilot-scale research environment for fibre processes, developed in close collaboration with the members of Forestcluster Ltd. SUORA offers cost efficient prototyping of ideas, fast experimenting, and development of new process solutions. The two-year KOTVA project has a budget of EUR 2 million and it supports the national research strategy of the Finnish forest cluster. The forest cluster has a target to double its turnover before year 2030. Half of the turnover is expected to come from entirely new products.

In the KOTVA, VTT and the University of Jyväskylä combine their knowledge in developing new production and measurement technologies for foam forming. Other partners of the project are UPM, Stora-Enso, M-real, Metso, Kemira, Omya, Wetend Technologies and Vision Systems, and the cities of Jyväskylä, Äänekoski and Jämsä. The project is funded (EUR 917,778) by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Regional Council of Central Finland.

VTT’s research environment for fibre processes - SUORA 

Foam forming research environment 

Comunicado de ImprensaVTT terá o primeiro ambiente global de pesquisa de tecnologia de espuma em escala industrial 

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VTT Technical Research Centre and Aalto University have developed a method which for the first time enables manufacturing of a wood-based and plastic-like material in large scale. The method enables industrial scale roll-to-roll production of nanofibrillated cellulose film, which is suitable for e.g. food packaging to protect products from spoilage.

cell opt

Nanofibrillated cellulose typically binds high amounts of water and forms gels with only a few per cent dry matter content. This characteristic has been a bottleneck for industrial-scale manufacture. In most cases, fibril cellulose films are manufactured through pressurised filtering but the gel-like nature of the material makes this route difficult. In addition, the wires and membranes used for filtering may leave a so-called “mark” on the film which has a negative impact on the evenness of the surface.

According to the method developed by VTT and Aalto University nanofibrillated cellulose films are manufactured by evenly coating fibril cellulose on plastic films so that the spreading and adhesion on the surface of the plastic can be controlled. The films are dried in a controlled manner by using a range of existing techniques. Thanks to the management of spreading, adhesion and drying, the films do not shrink and are completely even. The more fibrillated cellulose material is used, the more transparent films can be manufactured.

Several metres of fibril cellulose film have been manufactured with VTT’s pilot-scale device in Espoo. All the phases in the method can be transferred to industrial production processes. The films can be manufactured using devices that already exist in the industry, without the need for any major additional investment. 

VTT and Aalto University are applying for a patent for the production technology of NFC film. Trial runs and the related development work are performed at VTT.

The invention was implemented in the Naseva – Tailoring of Nanocellulose Structures for Industrial Applications project by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes) that is included in the Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies project entity formed by UPM, VTT and Aalto University.

Nanofibrillated cellulose grade used was UPM Fibrilcellulose supplied by UPM.

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Effective January 1, 2012, VTT Expert Services Ltd will merge its analytical service operations into its subsidiary Labtium Ltd. The merger of business from VTT Expert Services Ltd to Labtium Ltd covers chemical analysis services to several industrial sectors and its pulp and paper testing services for the forest industry and related industries.

The centralization of the analytical services into Labtium will support customer’s needs in a more efficient and effective way which provides simplified access to its streamlined operations proactively. Moreover, consumers of VTT Group’s other services and operations can also be accessed from one center of excellence, Labtium Ltd.

“The centralization of the analytical services to Labtium prepares the way for providing even more comprehensive services to our customers. As such, we will be able to focus effectively on customer’s needs and changes coupled with developing totally new service concepts,” says Tiina Hausalo, CEO Labtium Ltd.

“Moreover, the new distribution of services provides the best possible foundation for business within the group. The resources will be efficiently exploited, when both the analytical techniques and the laboratory experts are located in the same centralized location,” says Laura Apilo, CEO VTT Expert Services Ltd.

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The growth of digital media and the resulting decline in print runs, together with rising raw material costs and increased pressure from Asian competitors have put European printers in a tight spot. A VTT study on the current state of the industry and its future challenges shows that these companies need urgent actions in order to remain competitive.

For a decade now, the graphic and printing industry has been shaken by a considerable structural upheaval. The growth of digital media has upset the operating environment of the printing industry, driving businesses to merge and to cut capacity.

The worldwide financial crisis that unfolded in 2008 hit European printers hard, and although the worst is now behind, the industry is not expected to recover its former volume. While digital media are chipping away the demand for traditional printed matter, raw material costs are also rising, and cost-effective Asian competitors are putting pressure on the market.

VTT studied the present situation of the European printing industry and explored means for future survival by interviewing more than 30 representatives at 18 European enterprises in the field. The study shows that in order to survive, the European printing industry must either increase production efficiency and flexibility, increase the value of printed products or launch new applications and services exploiting printing competence. These are the ways in which the industry can survive in a situation where print runs are shrinking but the range of printed products is expanding.

Production efficiency may mean, for example, that printing presses support a wider range of formats and products more flexibly than before. Hybrid printed products, combining digital and traditional printing, are a case in point. Efficiency can also be improved by moving production methods closer to the end user and using a printing press for processing the printing substrate.

Interactive media combining digital and printed media enables product and service applications, where the user experience is extended. Applications where mobile phones are used as an intermediate link between these two media are already on the market. Virtual reality proves to be a source of added value for printed products. In the future, we will see an independent, interactive printed product that does not need an intermediate device such as a mobile phone. The third future option for the printing industry involves using their equipment and expertise to serve the needs of other sectors, employing printing technology to create completely new products.

Sustainability is an issue the industry needs to take into focus both in product development but also in marketing. There are different, not necessarily fact-based opinions on the sustainability of printed media. In order to stay alive and prosper, the European printing industry must conform to the needs of consumers and corporate media users in terms of the sustainability and usability of its products.

The renewal requires the entire cluster to work together. Although the whole industry is challenged, proactivity is needed especially from the major enterprises, so that the change could be effected smoothly and throughout the sector. Based on the study now completed, VTT is setting up three research projects through which the competitiveness of the industry is enhanced in the future. These projects cover all three survival scenarios referred to above: efficiency, added value and new products. VTT is to form industrial consortia for each three individual projects. Companies throughout the print value chain are invited to join and to steer the research.

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