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Ekoportal2035 - a source of inspiration

The Swedish Forest Industries Federation produced Ekoportal2035 to present a selection of inspirational materials and ideas for entrepreneurs, businesses, researchers and investors. An exciting vision of the future has forest-based renewable materials at centre stage, and each idea has been given its own “product name”. Ekoportal2035 shows possibilities, but long-term research, development and demonstration are required in order for the product ideas to be realised.

Ekoportal2035
Innventia's demonstrator Self-cleaning Dinnerware made entirely from cellulose using high pressure and water. Photo: Innventia

Innventia, together with the design studio Tomorrow Machine, developed three demonstrators inspired by Ekoportal2035. Here at Innventia, we think working with demonstrators is an excellent way of visualising research findings. It's also a way of discovering that a material can have many different expressions, and hence many applications. With these demonstrators we want to show you visions of the future created using today's cellulose-based materials.

Ekoportal2035 Innventia
Photo: David Axelsson

Self-cleaning Dinnerware consists of a bowl and a dish made entirely of cellulose. By using heat and pressure, the pulp can be hot pressed together with water to create complex 3D shapes. The process makes the material stiffer, more water-resistant, and gives it a better "sound" when tapped so that it is experienced as a high-quality cellulose material that is biodegradable. This combination of properties is so attractive that maybe it will enable us to replace dinnerware in use today?

In the future it will be possible to safely make the surface superhydrophobic, giving tableware that does not need washing up after use. For the purposes of demonstration, the bowl and dish were treated with a commercially available superhydrophobic spray, but in the future, the cellulose surface could be modified on a structural or molecular level to give this and other properties.

Exciting research areas:

  • Cellulose surface modification
  • Tailor-made surfaces and structuresVisual and tactile perception of materials
  • Dimensional stability

WoodJunction is a fibre composite intended to easily join together structures, e.g. prefabricated elements. Our example consists of ten parts that together form an icosahedron. The parts are made of a composite material that combines bio-based plastic with cellulose. Half-finished goods can later be shaped into their end form on-site. The material is highly formable and can be produced at high speed, using both injection moulding and hot pressing. The vision of this material is a strong, formable and wear-resistant material that can withstand demanding environments.

The inspiration for this demonstrator was a durable material that, with its formability, enables new joints and thereby new angles to be created in the buildings of the future. It should also be possible to mount and dismantle these joints easily for repeated use. The building blocks of the icosahedron were CNC (computer numerical controlled) milled and the parts are held together by magnets. In the future, building blocks or entire buildings could be 3D printed.

Exciting research areas:

  • Material durability
  • 3D printing
  • Bio-based plastics from forest-based raw material

FiberScreen is a futuristic touchscreen made of nanocellulose, which is cast into a film using a water-based process. By combining it with conducting layers, a transparent, flexible, and lightweight material could be produced that is strong enough to be used in LED displays or as an information carrier. It will be possible to imagine many new variations of electronic components that combine high performance with a sound environmental profile. Our demonstrator is printed with invisible fluorescent ink that becomes visible in ultraviolet (UV) lighting. Hidden visual elements that become visible in UV lighting can support security solutions to guarantee the original content of packages. Displays could also be manufactured in a large-scale process in paper machines.

FiberScreen also represents the area of cellulose electronics, where electronically active materials are mixed with cellulose. By integrating new functions in cellulose, which is a very good structural material, high functionality with low weight can be achieved. Hot application areas include batteries, supercondensators, solar cells, RFID, thermoelectric generators, printed electronics and the Internet of Things, where the virtual world is connected to physical objects. The research area of cellulose electronics involves crossdisciplinary exploration of the specific properties of nanocellulose, such as its viscosity, film forming ability, chemical modifiability, water interaction, coefficient of thermal expansion, form flexibility and strength.

Exciting research areas:

  • Cellulose electronics
  • Printability of bio-based materials
  • Water sensitivity of cellulose and other wood-based components

The project was funded by RISE and Skogsindustrins Forskningsstiftelse.

Contact

Catharina Ottestam
+46 8 676 7211
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Mikael Lindström
+46 8 676 7433
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Marie-Claude Béland
+46 8 676 7234
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Hjalmar Granberg
+46 8 676 7041
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