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A new FDCA process by Stora Enso

With roots going back as far as the 1300s, Stora Enso has had many forms and diverse operations. Change is very much a part of our heritage, and our ability to adapt has been the foundation of our endurance. Change has also allowed us to become who we are today – from a traditional paper and pulp company we have transitioned to the renewable materials company.

With renewable materials at the foundation, Stora Enso is in a unique position to drive a transition to a greener world. We believe that anything made from fossil-based materials today can be made from a tree tomorrow. In the coming years, wood- and bio-based solutions will be used in all sorts of new ways. Replacing fossil-based materials with renewable materials is at the very core of our ambition and will help in the transition towards a circular bioeconomy. To achieve this, we rely highly on innovation; the process of translating an idea into new value.

Switching to plastics that make sense

Plastic has unique properties that makes it challenging to fully substitute. But we can switch from conventional plastics to alternatives that make sense. A plastic that makes sense is bio-based, recyclable and has a high-performance. It is also cost-effective, and it can be processable within the existing infrastructure.

At our Biomaterials Innovation Centre in Stockholm, Stora Enso has been developing a new and improved process to produce FDCA (furandicarboxylic acid) from sugars. FDCA is the key building block for bio-based polyesters such as PEF (polyethylene furanoate) and can be used as a monomer component in other biobased polymers as well.

As a renewable material of bio-based origin, PEF’s attractive barrier, mechanical and thermal properties open new opportunities in packaging applications. This innovation project aims to replace current packaging solutions like PET (polyethylene terephthalate), coated and multilayer plastics, aluminum and glass, and to contribute to a sustainable growth of the global transparent rigid and flexible packaging solutions for the beverage, food and packaging industries. We want to introduce a plastic that makes sense and outperforms its fossil-based counterpart. PEF originating from the proprietary process by Stora Enso is a bio-based alternative that can be recycled in a dedicated recycling stream or together with PET.

Innovating for a better tomorrow

Stora Enso has been developing its proprietary process to produce FDCA since 2016. The project is currently moving into pilot-scale production at Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge Mill near Ghent, Belgium. The pilot plant commissioning is planned for Q3 2021, with production of FDCA for sampling and production of PEF estimated early 2022.

Stora Enso is engaging with potential partners across the value chain to validate the required properties of the PEF resin and of packaging made of it, and to find partnerships that can accelerate the industrial implementation of the process and the materials. We realize that great innovations do not happen in isolation.

Find out more about FDCA and our innovation work

Our breakthrough FDCA chemistry

Our breakthrough FDCA chemistry

FDCA for PEF

FDCA for PEF

Stora Enso innovation

Stora Enso innovation

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