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Sara Wallsten Bioeconomy Arena Testbed
Photo: Fredrik Persson, RISE

Foamy research at RISE Örnsköldsvik

RISE part in the Swedish Innovation system comprises, among other things, a vast range of test beds aimed at accelerating the development of new materials and processes. Let's get to know Sara Wallstén and her research which is being transferred from the lab to a brand new pilot scale test bed at MoRe Research, a RISE subsidiary in Örnsköldsvik.

– Tell us about foam materials?

- What we refer to as foam materials are lightweight materials consisting largely of air, think for example of Styrofoam or other foam plastics. At RISE, we focus on developing sustainable lightweight materials using recycled or bio-based raw materials. We aim to demonstrate the possibilities of producing materials that reduce environmental impact while maintaining high performance. The applications we primarily explore are within packaging, building insulation, and as air filters.

– Why is there a focus on scaling up foam materials?

– For several years, we have been involved in and led various research projects aimed at exploring the possibilities of producing sustainable lightweight materials. What we have observed is that there are significant opportunities to achieve high material performance and tailored properties depending on the compositions and formulations used. Our fundamental principle is to maximize the use of bio-based resources to minimize the overall environmental and climate impact and to create conditions for circular use of materials.

– The next step in our research is to test and validate our results on a larger scale. This is crucial to enable a smooth transition from laboratory experiments to practical production. By scaling up the processes, we can ensure that the new lightweight materials can be produced in sufficient quantities to meet the needs and requirements of the industry. This is an important part of realizing the potential of our research results and contributing to a more sustainable future in materials management and manufacturing.

– And now RISE is building a pilot plant? Tell us why?

– A pilot plant provides us with the opportunity to produce enough material to conduct extensive market and application testing. This is important to understand how the materials perform under real conditions and to ensure that they meet the requirements and expectations of different industries.

A functioning pilot plant makes us more attractive for industrial collaborations and partnerships. By being able to offer manufacturing on a larger scale, we can attract potential partners from various sectors, which can open new opportunities for applications and markets. The pilot being built will be open and flexible to allow partners not only to test our method but also to bring in their own methods and integrate into existing infrastructure.

–  What's happening now with the new pilot?

– Parts of the pilot  are in the process of being installed in the brand-new pilot hall in Örnsköldsvik, while other systems still have delivery times remaining. It will be very exciting to see everything come together and to start dealing with all the challenges involved in running the process continuously, not just in batches as we do in the lab. After the summer, the hope is that we will have the process fine-tuned and that the units will work well together.

Oskar Westin


+46 70 306 22 59

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