The Finnish Forest Industries Federation participated in SLUSH's official side event, Y Science, also this year. In the Forest & Environment section, inspiring presentations were given on the commercialization of bio-based innovations and material applications of nanocellulose.

SLUSH's official side event, Y Science, brings together representatives from the scientific community, business world, and investors to be inspired by tangible actions for advancing science-based innovations. In this year's session focusing on forests and the environment, presentations were delivered by two top researchers in their respective fields, Luana Dessbesell and Ilona Leppänen, discussing bio-based product innovations.

Innovations do not happen by chance

Forests offer opportunities for innovations that provide solutions to global problems and create new business ventures. Examples of wood-based innovations include new textile fibers, lignin-based bioproducts, or bio-composite products made from cellulose as a sustainable alternative to plastics.

Luana Dessbesell, an assistant professor in sustainable bioproduct innovations at Aalto University, emphasized in her presentation that implementing research-based innovations requires time, a functional process, and a product portfolio. Furthermore, it is crucial to take the sustainability perspective into account as a cross-cutting theme throughout the entire value chain.

High value of nanocellulose

Ilona Leppänen, working as a researcher at VTT, conceives and develops methods to derive high-value products from nanocellulose. In her presentation, Leppänen highlighted that in addition to its bio-based origin and renewability, cellulose possesses several excellent characteristics, such as biocompatibility, biodegradability, strength, and a chemically modifiable structure. Nanocellulose can be utilized, for instance, as a novel packaging material for food or to remove microplastics from water.

Leppänen has been awarded for her work with nanocellulose both domestically and at the European level.

Science as the foundation for green growth and new innovations

Finland is internationally recognized for conducting high-quality research related to forests and the forest bioeconomy. The Finnish Forest Industries Federation emphasizes the crucial role of forest industry innovations in enabling sustainable development. By investing in new wood-based material and product solutions, we can replace fossil-based or environmentally burdensome products, and thus contribute to the creation of a renewable and sustainable future.