About ACel

New cellulose-based materials respond to the growing demand for renewable materials especially in the textile and packaging markets. The Advanced Cellulose to Novel Products (ACel) research program provided methods for processing cellulose into new materials and utilizing these materials in novel products.

The demand for materials and especially renewable materials is increasing globally. There are increasing efforts being made in the development of renewable materials that are competitive with oil based textile fibres and plastics in terms of material properties and price. Many new cellulose-based materials meet this demand.

The ACel program focused on cellulose-based textile fibres and fibrous materials that can be heat-moulded similarly as plastics. In addition, cellulose-based water treatment chemicals have been developed. The starting point was to utilise the world leading cellulose competence in Finland for the development of new products. The ultimate goal was to support Finland’s position as a pioneer in the field of cellulose based products through intensive collaboration between companies and research institutes.

The scientists focused on the structure of the cellulose with such level of detail that is not required in traditional papermaking. At the same time, the research program developed the foundation for industrial applications. The researchers investigated technological challenges related to textile fiber manufacturing process, whereas developers of packaging materials developed materials with such properties that support industrial manufacturing of thermoformable paper board and composites.

The ACel program invited small and medium-sized companies and designers outside the consortium to test the new materials in their products and production processes instead of conventional yarns and plastics. Thus, the program built the basis for commercial use of these materials in future and formed networks among Finnish companies throughout the value chain.

The research program strengthened Finnish competence in cellulose-based products and improved the competitiveness in the growing international markets. In addition to the cellulose expertise, the research program produced unique knowledge in ionic liquids and thus strengthened the position of Finnish researchers as top experts in the field. In this report we summarize the results of the program.

The ACel program began in 2014 and ended in August 2017. The ACel program involved 9 companies and 6 research institutes. The total value of the program was approximately EUR 9 million, of which 25% was funded by companies, 15% by public research institutes and 60% by Tekes (The finnish Funding Agency for Innovation).

The research program was included in the project portfolio of the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster, FIBIC Ltd. FIBIC was one of the Strategic Centres for Science, Technology and Innovation (SHOK) for companies and research institutions in bioeconomy sector. In September 2015, FIBIC and CLEEN (Cluster for Energy and Environment) merged to form CLIC Innovation Ltd.