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A house full of expertise and great potential

The opening ceremony for Aalto Bioproduct Centre was held in a happy atmosphere on 3 May.

Aalto Bioproduct Centre is located at Vuorimiehentie 1 in Otaniemi. The facility is home to the CHEMARTS project, which combines biomaterials and design through teaching and research. The project is run by Designer in Residence Pirjo Kääriäinen (on the right in the picture) and Vice Dean Tapani Vuorinen.

Aalto Bioproduct Centre doesn’t isolate its researchers in chambers. The large and bright halls are a single, open space, and the insulated glass walls of the offices on the top floor balcony allow people to work in a quiet setting while still being surrounded by students and research groups.

Bringing new and old experts together is one of the central objectives of Aalto Bioproduct Centre. Closer and bolder cooperation is needed to ensure the success and accelerate the pace of Finland's bioeconomy.

‘The bioeconomy is one of Finland’s most important export fields,’ said Janne Laine, Dean of the School of Chemical Technology.

‘Moving from an oil-based economy to an increasingly bio-based economy is a great opportunity for us and, for example, collaboration with companies is absolutely essential in this respect.’

Professor Herbert Sixta presented the Ioncell method and wants to encourage researchers to commercialise their competence. Toihan, which specialises in treating waste water from pulp and paper mills, already operates in the centre's premises – and more companies are sure to follow.

Herbert Sixta, who is head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems, reminded people that about 20% of the biomass that grows annually in Finnish forests is not utilised. For example, if it was refined into textile fibre the cellulose contained in that 20% would mean five billion euros in additional income for Finland each year.

‘And that sum would be much larger if all of the structural parts of trees were included. This is why Aalto Bioproduct Centre emphasises value chain thinking, and our research group is developing new ways of using it in areas like future wood construction and ecological, water-resistant coatings.’

Professor Herbert Sixta, President Tuula Teeri and Dean Janne Laine opened the centre by using a traditional paper cutter to cut a ribbon made from nanopaper produced by Professor Jouni Paltakari’s group.

President Tuula Teeri, who officially opened the centre, was clearly delighted.

‘This is a dream come true for me, and it also demonstrates how important science is for society and its well-being.’

The company representatives who participated in the panel discussion – ABB’s Iiro Harjunkoski, Metsä Fibre’s Ari Harmaala, Marimekko’s Milla Asikainen, Andritz’s Johan Engström and Spinnova’s Janne Poranen – stressed the importance of the university as a producer of the latest research data and also as an educator of future experts.                                                         

Companies large and small – are you interested in collaboration? More information about the opportunities at Aalto Bioproduct Centre.

Professor Jouni Paltakari, Deputy Head of the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems     
Tel. +358 400 818 244
[email protected]

Laboratory Engineer Timo Ylönen
Tel. +358 40 577 9804
[email protected]

Photos: Mikko Raskinen / Aalto University

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