Background

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation (Skogsindustrierna) and KTH took the initiative to start a Biofibre Materials Centre - BiMaC - 2001 at KTH; in this context denoted "BiMaC Research". The agreement spanned over a six-year period, starting with the fiscal year 2002, and thus terminating 2007. This agreement initiated a renewed focus of the forest products research.

BiMaC

The VINN Excellence Centre BiMaC Innovation was formally founded on July 1, 2007 with a centre agreement signed by KTH (the Royal Institute of Technology), nine industrial partners in Sweden and with the signed agreement approved by VINNOVA.

The long-term objective of BiMaC Innovation is to become an internationally leading biomaterials science centre, spearheading the development of new renewable and sustainable materials based on wood fibres and other renewable polymers, increasing the competitiveness of the industry and contributing to innovations in the forest products sector. The vision is to create paradigm-shifting breakthroughs in the Forest Based Sector and to drive research into innovation. This translates to science-based tailoring of material and product structures for new levels of product performance. The aim is to expand existing markets and to enter new ones.

The first two years focused on setting up a functional organisation, further developing the research program and establishing efficient collaboration with industrial partners. Other objectives have been to set up a strategic plan to create links with universities on an international level (VINNOVA Global Links-project) and to form a strategy together with other centres of excellence and institutes on the KTH Campus in order to set up an Innovation Forum (IF, "ForestBeyond") for Forest Products Research at KTH.

The research programme is composed of "Demonstrator Line Projects" (DLPs), containing a number of "Work Packages" (WPs). In terms of research highlights, a first prototype equipment for manufacturing of double-curved paperboard surfaces has been manufactured. A first demonstrator for double-curved board has also been developed together with Innventia. A fully hydrated paper sample has been imaged by scanning electron microscopy for the first time. It has been demonstrated that thermo responsive multi-layers can be manufactured and also that novel montmorillonite/ microfibrillar cellulose nanocomposites can be manufactured.

The Centre will promote sustainable growth in society through efficient use of wood-based resources. In collaboration with the industrial partners, there is a focus on hitherto unsolved industrial problems, which are expected to be key issues for sustainable industrial growth.

A central strategy for BiMaC Innovation is to formulate and develop projects with a high probability of becoming paradigm-shifting and innovative. These long-term projects are characterized as high-risk, and in order to minimize this risk, the projects will be preceded by feasibility studies, which will give the board a better understanding of the nature of the project and enhance the technology transparency of the proposed project. Good long-term projects will also involve companies in the initiation phase. This does not exclude exploratory projects, which are important in order to widen the knowledge base for wooden materials.

In order for the research efforts to be effective and reach critical size, synergistic interactions with other research efforts on the KTH Campus is a necessity. For the same reason BiMaC Innovation also creates links to other programs within the strategic scope of BiMaC Innovation and initiates strategic initiatives for the development of the Forest Products Sector.

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