Biomass contains lots of valuable raw materials. The target of Fortum’s Bio2X programme is to explore the resource-efficient utilisation of the raw materials. The programme is developing the upgrading of wood and bioeconomy residues into high-value products. At fractioning technology-based biorefineries, these lignin cellulose-containing raw materials can be separated into three clean components: cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. These intermediate products can be further refined into, e.g., textiles, cosmetics and industrial products, like glues.
New biorefinery products save natural resources and can reduce dependency on non-renewable or otherwise unsustainable raw materials. For example, sustainably produced textile fibres from lignin cellulose use less water than cotton. Additionally, the fibre doesn’t load water systems with micro-plastics, like polyester or other artificial fibres do. Unlike using biomass in energy production, biorefinery products store the carbon dioxide that has been absorbed in the biomass for years.
Bio2X is tasked with finding and ensuring sustainable ways to use biomass. Among other things, we are researching the possibility of using recycled materials and agricultural residues, like wheat straw and rice straw, as biorefinery raw materials. Especially in developing countries, straw is generally combusted in the fields, significantly increasing the air pollution; in the worst cases, the small particle content that is harmful to humans is 30 times higher than recommended levels. When straw is used as a raw material at biorefineries, its combustion can be avoided and additional earning opportunities for farmers can be created. Fortum’s goal through the straw supply chain is to create positive impacts for local communities without compromising the nutrient and carbon balance of fields..