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 Replacing fossil-based plastics with FuraCore®: an innovative FDCA process for bio-based plastics

Replacing fossil-based plastics with FuraCore®: an innovative FDCA process for bio-based plastics

At Stora Enso, we believe that everything that is made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. Even plastics.

We always strive to innovate solutions that can replace plastics with renewable, fiber-based alternatives made from trees. However, plastic has a few properties that makes it challenging to fully substitute, especially in the food packaging industry. It is lightweight, transparent and has excellent barrier properties – protecting foods, extending shelf life and reducing waste. But it is also associated with many problems, like the release of fossil carbon dioxide into the atmosphere at its end-of-life.

Consumers and companies alike are looking for long term sustainable solutions that are better for our health, the environment and our planet. Read more below on how our breakthrough FDCA process FuraCore® can lead the switch to a bio-based plastic that makes sense.

FuraCore: an innovative FDCA process for bio-based plastics
A plastic that makes sense

A plastic that makes sense

Furandicarboxylic acid, or FDCA, is an organic chemical compound that occurs in nature and the key building block for bio-based plastics such as PEF. With our breakthrough technology to produce FDCA, we’re laying the foundation for a plastic that makes sense – one that originates from growing plants that absorb carbon dioxide during their lifespan.

Other than being the key building block for PEF, FDCA can also be used as a monomer component in coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers. Meaning that most manufacturers in the global transparent rigid and flexible packaging industries can utilise our elegant and innovative technology to grow sustainably.

Key benefits

  • High heat resistance – making PEF attractive for hot-fill purposes, as well as re-use through industrial washing and refill.

  • Superior gas barrier properties for oxygen, carbon dioxide and water vapour – enabling mono-material packaging and an extended shelf life of products.

  • PEF is made from bio-based crops that grow back  laying the foundation for sustainable and circular packaging.

  • High strength – leading to new design options and light weighting possibilities. 

  • Durable and recyclable – The high durability of PEF makes it recycling friendly. At the end of its life, PEF can be recycled separately or together with PET, making it fit well into a circular economy model.

Future end-use areas

  • Bottles for carbonated drinks, flavored water and juices

  • Kegs for beer and jars for hot-filled sauces and soups

  • Trays for ready-to-serve meals

  • Modified atmosphere packaging for perishable fresh foods

  • Pouches and films for both fresh and dry foods

High heat resistance

Superior barrier properties

Renewable / bio-based

High strength

Durable and recyclable

What are the most suitable applications for PEF?

PEF could replace PET bottles, aluminium cans and glass jars in a wide variety of applications and industries. In fact, PEF's attractive barrier, mechanical and thermal properties open up new packaging opportunities in terms of both application, design and shape – and our innovative FuraCore® process brings additional advantages not seen previously.

What are the most suitable applications for PEF?

PEF future uses

FDCA-based polymers can also be spun to fibers, and FDCA can be used as a monomer in coatings, adhesives, sealants and elastomers.

We're establishing the FuraCore FDCA pilot plant at our Langerbrugge recycled paper mill near Ghent, Belgium. Here, we're driving commercialisation and will start pilot production in 2022.

Learn more about the pilot plant

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