Laboratory environment at a Valmet pilot plant. Photo: Valmet Corporation

Laboratory environment at a Valmet pilot plant. Photo: Valmet Corporation

4 May 2015

Valmet: a powerhouse of Finnish bioeconomy

The Valmet Corporation, a leading technology provider for the Finnish bioeconomy cluster, spends an annual average of EUR 50 million on developing its paper, pulp and energy solutions, services and automation. The investment is driven by a growing demand for cost-effective technology and the need to renew forest-based industries.

“Customers’ demands for higher productivity and eco-efficiency are the main drivers behind Valmet’s R&D programme”, says Jouko Yli-Kauppila, Vice President of Intellectual Property Rights at Valmet.

“Raw material and energy consumption are growing concerns globally as they have an impact on resource availability and climate change. They also present by far the most important operational cost factors for our clients.”

NIB is co-funding Valmet’s research efforts with a EUR 95 million loan, signed in January 2015.

“NIB’s financing provides an opportunity for us to grow and to strengthen our position as global technology leader.”

Valmet has an extensive intellectual property portfolio of about 1,800 patented innovations. Almost 100% of the company’s research investments go to its technology and R&D centres in Finland and Sweden.

Additionally, a part of the research work is carried out in collaboration with a network of customers, research institutions and universities.

“Our current focus is on improving the performance and cost-effectiveness of our portfolio by modularising machine and process designs”, explains Mr Yli-Kauppila.

“In biomass conversion, we are working on creating new revenue by turning by-products of the pulping process into renewable fuels or bio-material.”

Putting an emphasis on innovation and industrial design has earned the company plaudits throughout the industry. For instance, Valmet’s modular concept for paper and board machines, OptiConcept M, received recognition in last year’s Fennia Prize, one of the largest design competitions for companies in Finland.

Valmet has received recognition for its achievements. The company was included in the 2014 Dow Jones World Sustainability Europe and World Indices, as well as the 2014 Nordic Climate Disclosure Leadership Index.

In Finland, Valmet is actively contributing to the work of strategic competence clusters such as CLEEN, which investigates energy and environmental issues, and FIMECC, which focuses machine design.

The company is also part of Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC, a public–private research organisation that helps develop and materialise the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy aimed at creating environmentally sustainable economic growth.

“I believe that we, as a country, have to make the most of bio-based raw materials,” says Mr Yli-Kauppila, “There are many new ideas waiting to be discovered. Our forests are one of our strengths, and so is our know-how.”