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Felix Schoeller achieves EU funding for a special research project

 Tuesday, February 20, 2024

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Felix Schoeller grass fiber research project

Felix Schoeller is investigating together with Grondstoffen Collectief Nederland (GCN) an interesting research project entitled “Grass fiber test and application in paper and cardboard”, which is funded by the European Union.

Felix Schoeller got enthusiastic regarding this research project to find out the answer of “Can specially prepared grass fibers from the Netherlands be used for the production of special papers?” The company is now basically investigating this question and they believe the research will be fruitful to the industry.

“As part of the project, we are characterizing our partner’s grass fibers and checking in which of our product segments we can potentially use them successfully,” explains Dr. Kerstin Hackmann, project manager at Felix Schoeller. A few days ago, GCN representatives came to Osnabrück for an exchange and to personally hand over the fibers. “We have already completed the first preliminary tests,” reports Hackmann. The coming months will show whether the grasses are actually an alternative raw material for Felix Schoeller.

Better CO2 and water balance?

According to GCN, the CO2 and water balance of grass fibers with alternative processing could be more positive than conventional pulp because, for example, no lignin has to be removed during processing and the transport routes are significantly shorter.

In the Netherlands, many innovations have recently emerged from the use of grasses: insulating materials, building materials, but also cardboard and paper. However, for Felix Schoeller’s special papers, raw materials must be almost free of disruptive elements – such as protein – in the production process. Our colleagues involved will test this as part of the project.

Felix Schoeller has already tested grass from other sources. However, complications arose again and again because the binding ability of the fibers was not sufficient and a high protein content had a disruptive effect on the paper manufacturing process. Thanks to the special processing in the refineries, GCN promises that the quality of its grass fibers is significantly better. The joint research project initially runs until March 2025.

Background information on X-Lives projects:

The X-Lives projects focus on developing innovative circular solutions for polymers, fibers and mineral materials in the Interreg region. The vision is to create a circular economy characterized by sustainability and resource efficiency by introducing innovative recycling processes and promoting collaboration between those involved. At least one German and one Dutch company are involved in the individual X-Lives projects.

The Interreg VI project “X-Lives” is financed with funds from the European Regional Development Fund. In addition, the following Interreg partners are participating in the financing: the Lower Saxony Ministry for Federal and European Affairs, the Ministry for Economic Affairs, Industry, Climate and Energy NRW, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the provinces of Overijssel, Gelderland, Drenthe, Friesland, Groningen, Limburg and North Brabant.

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