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Press release

Press release

Dust will become a raw material in Åbo Akademi University’s new project

Is there any value in dust from the wood processing industry? Yes, if it can be turned into a new raw material. A project at Åbo Akademi University in collaboration with University of Helsinki, University of Turku and several business partners will work to see what the possibilities are.

The project From Dust to Value (D2V) – Circular bio-based residues involves several actors in the mechanical wood processing and chemical industry who will jointly investigate the potential of wood fibres and the wastes from their processing as a substitute for fossil raw materials in the chemical industry. The project partners will jointly produce information on sustainable methods, processes, and materials demanded by the industry and society and the project is expected to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals on traceability of raw materials and products and life cycle and environmental performance of supply chains.

From Dust to Value (D2V) is led by Chunlin Xu, Professor of Renewable Materials Chemistry at the Laboratory of Natural Materials Technology at Åbo Akademi University. Patrik Eklund, Professor of Organic Chemistry co-leads the project tasks to be conducted at Åbo Akademi University. The project results are expected to have a significant impact on the international competitiveness of the domestic industry and are an important part of the national project to develop a national strategy for sustainable use of wood-based waste streams.

– The project is in line with EU and national circular bioeconomy initiatives and supports the green transition through concrete targets. The cooperation will generate solutions to customer needs and develop competence, methods and processes on how we effectively can generate new products by using the same raw material through effective bio-refining. The consortium is keen to make new innovations together, says Professor Xu.

The project will collaborate with Mirka’s SHAPE programme and Kiilto’s SUPER Healthy Buildings project.

– Mirka has been investigating the possibility of using sanding dust as a raw material for bio-based products. Sanding dust is a common by-product of Mirka’s sanding and other processes, and it poses a challenge for the company and the industries as sanding dust can be harmful to human health and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The D2V project has devised an innovative method to convert sanding dust into bio-based resins, which can then be applied to produce more eco-friendly and low-carbon sanding products, such as sandpapers. The initiative is in line with Mirka’s Veturi Shape project, which aims to develop sustainable and green materials for the future, says Monireh Imani, Development Chemist at Mirka.

– In our project SUPER Healthy Buildings, Kiilto focuses on creating a more sustainable future for built environment. It combines green transition, digitalization, life cycle thinking and the goal of growing business together in an ecosystem. One of the themes of the SUPER Healthy Buildings vision is “Sustainable raw materials” awhere Kiilto is exploring the potential of wood-based circular materials in substituting fossil based raw materials, says Tomi Nissinen, Lead Research Scientist at Kiilto.

The project officially kicked off on 12 December of 2023 at the Aurum Campus of Åbo Akademi University and runs until the end of August 2026. D2V is funded by Business Finland with just over 1 million euros. In addition to Åbo Akademi University, Mirka and Kiilto, the project consortium includes University of Helsinki, University of Turku, Woodly, Tonester, GVK Coating Technology, Cajo Technologies, Boreal Bioproducts, and Fiberwood.

Further information:
Chunlin Xu, Professor of Renewable Materials Chemistry at the Laboratory of Natural Materials Technology, Åbo Akademi University
E- mail: chunlin.xu@abo.fi
Phone: +358 44 0362088