Reducing industrial carbon dioxide emissions plays a key role in the fight against climate change. Utilization of CO2 emissions is an important means to this end. The research project Forest CUMP coordinated by VTT is the newest partner project in the SPIRIT programme. It examines the capture and utilisation of carbon dioxide from the forest industry and waste incineration in the manufacture of different types of plastic products. Simultaneously, process concepts will be developed to enable the commercial utilisation of carbon dioxide emissions also in other fields of industry.
Carbon from industrial emissions of carbon dioxide can be bound in the products of the plastics and chemical industries. This creates possibilities for the development of new, climate-friendly plastics and other polymeric products.
VTT has long studied the possibilities for capture and utilization of carbon dioxide in different sectors. The Forest CUMP project, which was launched in August 2022, continues this work, focusing on the carbon dioxide emissions of the forest industry and waste incineration. The intended end-products would be polyolefins – polyethene and polypropene – which are present in our everyday life in many products and packaging. Today these materials are manufactured almost exclusively from fossil raw materials.
Test plant to start in an industrial environment in 2024
The Forest CUMP project aims at developing a processing concept which would enable the scaling of the technology up to the level of industrial production. An interim goal in the commercialisation of the process is to build a small test plant in a selected industrial environment in 2024.
“We can utilise the results of the test plant in the development and design of an industrial-scale plant. In addition to technological development, we are studying the applicability of different sources of CO2 and methods for capture and purification of CO2. We are also looking into the logistical angle linked with the transport and storage of the feedstocks – carbon dioxide and hydrogen – and the intermediate products – hydrocarbons,” says VTT Research Professor Juha Lehtonen.
New solutions are being developed together with corporate partners
The Forest CUMP project is being carried out in close cooperation with several company partners as part of the Business Finland’s Veturi ecosystems, which promote sustainable development. Borealis is one of the Veturi companies, and the SPIRIT programme which aims at green transition of the plastics industry, serves as a homebase for the Forest CUMP project.
“This is a significant development project that supports our vision, in which the carbon dioxide emissions from industry could be utilised for the production of e.g. durable plastic pipes out of them, which can bind carbon for long periods of time,” says Antti Ilves of Borealis.
The Forest CUMP project continues the work of an earlier BECCU project developing further the production technology of hydrocarbon intermediates.
Participants in the project include the leading companies Borealis, Neste and ABB, and Metsä Spring, Kemira, Vantaa Energy, Stora Enso, Kleener Power Solutions, Carbon ReUse Finland, Fortum and Essity, and LUT University and VTT as research partners. The project is funded by Business Finland and participating organisations.
Research Professor Juha Lehtonen, VTT, juha.lehtonen_at_vtt.fi
Researcher Niko Heikkinen, VTT, niko.heikkinen_at_vtt.fi
Antti Ilves, Borealis Polymers Oy, antti.ilves_at_borealisgroup.com