Stora Enso to build demo-scale plant in US

Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso is investing €32 million in a new demonstration plant, to be built in Louisiana, US, following its recent acquisition of biotechnology association Virdia.

The plant will be used to validate, on an industrial scale, Virdia's technology. This newly acquired extraction and separation process enables cellulosic biomass, such as wood and rural waste, to be converted into sugars.

The investment serves the feasibility of the technology on an industrial scale, with a view to deploying it in some of Stora Enso's existing pulp mills in the future.

The new plant will be built in close proximity to a sugarcane plantation. It will utilise bagasse waste as feedstock to produce C5 sugars and xylose. These sugars will then be converted and upgraded for applications in food and personal care, for example.

'This investment outlines the next step in our plan for new markets and applications,' comments Juan Carlos Bueno, EVP, Stora Enso Biomaterials. 'Our idea is to commercialise cost-effective renewable solutions to address well-identified market-driven needs and supplement value to existing cellulosic streams.'

The demonstration plant will come online in 2017.

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