Globally, the race to replace fossil-based ingredients in everyday products is central to many sectors. The chemical complexity of these products means that replacing ingredients requires a clear sustainability impact without compromising performance.
FineCell is developing a CellOx dry cellulose powder to replace fossil-based chemicals in sectors like beauty and healthcare products as well as commercial paint production.
The pulp-based materials are made through the novel and innovative FineCell technology, which combines pulp-based cellulose with a natural chemical (oxalic acid found in e.g. rhubarb), producing a new material that can easily be stored in a solid form yet is often applied in a liquid form.
CellOx is completely biobased, light to ship, and compared to other similar cellulose products, requires 80–90 percent less energy to manufacture. It can easily carry other ingredients, making it an excellent binding agent for products such as sunscreens, skin creams, and paints. It’s also transparent, enabling it to be used in a large variety of products.
Dr Peter Axegård, CEO and co-owner of FineCell, shared:
“The world is scrambling to replace fossil-based materials with sustainable ones. Our product, based on softwood pulp from sustainably managed Nordic forest, gives many industries an alternative to the components they are currently using.
Metsä Spring has seen the potential in our innovation, and due to their know-how in planning, constructing and operating production plants, including pilots and demos, and their access to the raw material linked to their ambition to upgrade Nordic wood, they were the perfect choice to support us as we move forward.”
Metsä Spring leads a group of investors, including EIT InnoEnergy and the company’s founder.
Niklas von Weymarn, CEO of Metsä Spring.shared:
“We’ve been following FineCell for some time and are delighted to be part of their journey. For us, all technologies that convert softwood pulp into added-value products are of interest. This technology and product clearly stand out, making it especially interesting.
The FineCell technology is still young. At this stage, we do not yet know all the directions that this platform might take us."
In addition to replacing fossil-based ingredients, the FineCell technology can also be used for applications in healthcare. Also, thin, transparent, and flexible films are a key focus area for the company.
The funds will be used to further develop and plan a demo production facility for the FineCell technology that can turn dry pulp fibre into added-value biomaterial, which can be used both as a powder and as a water solution (hydrogel).
FineCell aims to have the design of its demo plant ready for execution by the end of 2024, with larger-scale test production underway during 2025 and full commercial production commencing in 2027.
Lead image: Petri Anttila.