Contact: Ulla Forsström
Phone: +358-40-8202191
European Union

Co-funded by the European Union

Modeling the Impact of Innovations on the Circular Economy


Paper and board are unique products beeing both the end products as well as the main raw materials for the next cycle; thereby creating a circular economy . In order to ensure long term profitability, the industry needs to focus on resource efficiency and creating innovative products and value out of the streams discarded from the main production line due to resource efficiency reasons. Currently, the impact of product or process development in the paper mill can to some extent be determined for energy or material efficiency within the mill itself. However, the current tools are not able to incorporate impacts of novel innovations that make the total value chain (or circle) more resource efficient. The impact on e.g. the energy use outside of the paper mill or reduced quality in recycling needs to be considered and optimized.


The REFFIBRE project

In this EU-funded project, tools will be developed for the paper and board industry that can instantly provide the needed information regarding the impact of new production processes, raw material input and product innovations , as well as the influence on the recyclability of the end product. The tools enable paper makers to consider innovations affecting profitability in the value chain.

 REFFIBRE has started in November 2013. Using parallel tracks, the project will start developing various tools to cover different parts of the value chain. Once the tools are developed, they will be tested by comparing the modeling results of the environmental impact of various innovative concepts with the results from actual demonstration tests. These innovative concepts include fractionation of input materials and production of novel products from side streams (e.g. bio-oil using pyrolysis).



The REFFIBRE consortium consists of paper makers, knowledge institutions, technology developers and other organisations in order to cover all needed aspects. Coordinator Dr. Ulla Forsström, VTT


VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is a non-profit government organisation established by law and operating under the auspices of the Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy. VTT is a multitechnological research organisation providing high-end technology solutions and innovation services. From its wide knowledge base, VTT can combine different technologies, create new innovations and a wide range of world-class technologies and applied research services. VTT’s key technology fields include: Applied materials, Bio- and chemical processes, Energy, ICT, Industrial systems, Microtechnologies and electronics, Services and the built environment, and Business Research. VTT Group is the largest public applied research activity in Northern Europe with a staff of 2800 and turnover M€280. VTT has 70 years of experience and has participated in more than 1000 European R&D Framework Programme projects, within various programmes.

 Technische Universität Darmstadt 

The Technische Universität (TU) Darmstadt is one of Germany’s leading technical universities. It has around 270 professors, 4,000 employees and 23,000 students devote their talents and best efforts to the significant future research fields; energy, mobility, communications and information technologies, housing and living conditions. The chair of PMV, involved in this project proposal, is a part of the department of Mechanical Engineering at TU Darmstadt. The PMV is well-known and accepted expert in all areas dealing with paper for recycling, starting with paper for recycling quality, recycling processes including deinking and bleaching, reject and process water treatment of recycling processes as well as harmful substances in recycled pulp and paper produced from secondary fibres. The PMV has a wide range of laboratory equipment for the simulation, evaluation and optimisation of stock preparation processes like flotation, fractionation, and washing. Moreover, the PMV possesses a pilot stock preparation including a pilot flotation cell and a pressure screen which can be used as fractionation and washing equipment. Both can be made transportable and can be set up in individual paper mills. In its analytical laboratories all kind of measurements for describing the chemical, physical and optical properties of paper products can be executed. Moreover, PMV has excellent conditions for measurements of trace substances in waste water, papers and board products including mineral oils.


Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS) PTS was set up as a foundation in 1951 and assists companies in all sectors with the development and use of modern fibre-based solutions. PTS activities in research, consultancy, testing and continuing education are focused on

  • New materials: New lightweight materials for mobility, design, building and architecture; semi-finished paper products for the ceramics and metal industries; speciality papers.
  • Packaging: Innovative, environmentally compatible, sustainable packaging products; food packaging; package printing.
  • Print solutions: Paper for new printing techniques and substrates; evaluating surface properties and printability.
  • Resource efficiency: Opening up potentials for energy, water, raw materials and residuals.


ITENE is a multi-sectorial private non-profit Research Centre set up in 1994. The centre promotes scientific research, technological advancement, innovation and sustainability in the areas of packaging, transport and logistics. ITENE has experience in 27 projects from FP6 and FP7 related to these areas, co-ordinator in four. ITENE coordinates Spanish Technology Platform on Packaging.

 Bumaga BV 

Bumaga BV is a small sized innovative enterprise and is located in Arnhem, The Netherlands. Bumaga is a subsidiary of foundation Centre of Competence Paper and Board. Its main activities are development and implementation of novel paper production technologies, fibre based products and financial and managerial services for both paper and board producing and converting companies. Bumaga makes a bridge between basic research & technology development and the adoption of new technologies by the market. Bumaga has got a wide experience in accomplishing projects in corporation with paper mills, research institutes and other partners inside and outside the paper and board chain.


The Confederation of European Paper Industries (CEPI) is a Brussels-based non-profit making organisation regrouping the European pulp and paper industry and championing this industry’s achievements and the benefits of its products. Its mission is to promote the members’ business sector by taking specific actions, notably by monitoring and analysing activities and initiatives in the areas of industry, environment, energy, forestry, recycling, fiscal policies and competitiveness, making expert and constructive contributions on behalf of the industry. Its collective expertise provides a unique source of information both for and on the industry, coordinating essential exchanges of experience and knowledge among its members, with the ability to provide technical assistance to legislators and to identify independent experts on specific issues. Through its 18 member countries (17 European Union members plus Norway) CEPI represents some 650 pulp, paper and board producing companies across Europe, ranging from small and medium sized companies to multi-nationals, and 990 mills. Together they represent 25% of global production. CEPI is headed by Director General, Dr (h.c.) Teresa Presas, with a staff of 20, based in Brussels. It has five Standing Committees, which take long-term strategic perspectives on the issues affecting the industry. These are the Forest, Environment, Climate & Energy, Innovation and Recycling & Product Committees under which a number of ad hoc issue groups operate, such as the Food Contact Group and the Statistics Advisory Group.


S.C. Vrancart S.A. Adjud is a private owned company; its main activity is "Manufacture of corrugated paper and paperboard and of containers of paper and paperboard - CAEN code 1721. The main activities of S.C. Vrancart S.A. Adjud are divided in three mills which are manufacturing and selling the following products: Tissue paper mill - tissue papers in various assortments: half-finished products, rolls obtained following the process of converting the half-finished product, in simple or double plies, made of waste paper, pulp, kitchen towels and professional rolls. Paperboards mill (which is the object of these project) - paperboards: schrenz for the interior even layer of the cardboard or for the interior cover, fluting made of 100% waste paper, testliner 2 and 3,paper for the industrial wrappings, paper for the cores. Corrugated board mill - corrugated cardboard in 2, 3 and 5 layers, with B, C, E, B+C, C+E flute; corrugated cardboard packagings (boxes) of various formats, die-cut and laminated, which cover a large range of application.


Alucha is an independent developer of innovative recycling solutions for complex waste streams. Pyrolysis processes are our core expertise area. Few companies worldwide have successfully developed waste recycling pyrolysis at an industrial scale. Alucha has done precisely that. With over 15,000 hours of industrial pyrolysis under our belt, Alucha has shown it knows how to turn complex recycling ideas into everyday practice. 

 Utzenstorf Papier

Utzenstorf Papier is a Swiss quality producer of paper for advertising supplement and daily newsprint. The newsprint with a high among of deinking pulp (>90%) is produced on two paper machines with 246 employees. In 1964 was Utzenstorf Papier one of the pioneers in the using of paper for recycling. An own paper for recycling sorting plant assure a high paper quality. The production capacity is 205’000t/y. The paper brightness is between 60% ISO and 76% ISO. The turnover is M€105. Utzenstorf Papier has over 100 years’ experience and is since 2009 independent.

 Holmen AB

Holmen AB is a forest industry group that manufactures publication paper, paperboard and sawn timber and runs forestry and energy production operations. The Holmen Paper business area manufactures publication paper for daily newspapers, magazines, catalogues, directories/manuals, advertising print and books. The paper is manufactured at two mills in Sweden and one in Spain. The mill in Madrid produces newsprint which is based on 100% paper for recycling.