SUSBINCO Research Seminar unveils sustainable innovations in binders and coatings

The recent SUSBINCO public research seminar, held on March 13th at Innopoli, Espoo, and virtually, showcased groundbreaking insights into sustainable binders and coatings, shedding light on the future of eco-friendly packaging materials. Attended by approximately 100 participants from both physical and online platforms, the event served as a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange among industry experts and researchers.

The seminar commenced with opening remarks from Christiane Laine and Chunlin Xu, providing an overview of the SUSBINCO project’s background, motivations, and objectives. Central to the discussion was the urgent need to transition from fossil-based binders and coatings to bio-based alternatives, driven by sustainability imperatives and market demand. Key considerations included product performance, raw material availability, and eco-design aspects such as biodegradability and recyclability.

Chunlin Xu emphasized the pivotal role of industry involvement in the project across all work packages, highlighting a collaborative approach towards sustainable innovation. This sentiment was echoed by Maija Pohjakallio, Vice President of Climate and Circular Economy at Metsä Group, who emphasized the significance of collaboration in driving sustainability transitions within the industry.

Pohjakallio elucidated Metsä Group’s commitment to renewable energy and outlined their roadmap towards achieving zero fossil CO2 emissions by 2030. Illustrating their dedication to sustainability, she showcased the Kemi bioproduct mill, a fossil-free facility operational since Q3 2023. Pohjakallio also highlighted the upcoming EU Biotech and Biomanufacturing initiative, underscoring the importance of science-based definitions in sustainable development discourse.

Further insights into sustainable coatings were provided by Pekka Saranpää from The Natural Resources Institute Finland, who presented innovative alternatives derived from natural sources. Drawing inspiration from nature, Saranpää introduced suberin, a biopolyester found in tree bark, as a potential barrier coating material. He discussed successful piloting experiments with VTT, emphasizing the scalability and eco-friendly nature of suberin-based coatings.

Rajesh Koppolu from VTT delved into the development of suberin-derived dispersion coatings for barrier packaging applications. Highlighting the urgent need for sustainable alternatives in packaging, Koppolu outlined the SUSBINCO project’s efforts to enhance the share of bio-based plastics in the industry. He discussed advancements in aqueous suberin dispersions and roll-to-roll coating processes, showcasing improved barrier properties and future research directions.

In conclusion, the SUSBINCO research seminar offered a glimpse into the future of sustainable binders and coatings, driven by collaborative efforts between industry and academia. With a focus on bio-based alternatives and eco-design principles, the project aims to revolutionize the packaging industry’s approach towards sustainability. As SUSBINCO continues to pave the way for innovation, its impact on promoting a circular economy and reducing environmental footprint remains promising.

SUSBINCO, a Business Finland funded co-innovation project, brings together 11 industrial partners and 7 research partners in a collective endeavor towards sustainable solutions for the future.

You can find the event material here: