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VTT, TKK, and UPM Establish Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies
Helsinki, Finland, 14 February 2008 – VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Helsinki University of Technology (TKK), and UPM have today established a Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies.

The Centre aims to create new applications for cellulose as a raw material, substance, and end product. Cellulose-based nanofibers can be used to alter the structure of the material and create new products.

The Finnish Centre for Nanocellulosic Technologies will start operating on 01 March 2008. Its operations will be centralized in Otaniemi, Espoo. The Centre will employ about 40 researchers. It is an equal consortium of the three partners. The operations are being financed by public and private investments.

Cellulose fibers (30 micrometers wide and 2-3 millimeters long) consist of nanofibrils that are about one-thousandth of the dimensions of a cellulose fiber. One of the challenges in research is to produce large quantities of nanofibrils of even quality.

Nanofibrils provide a number of possibilities for treating wood fiber materials and adding completely new properties to them. The mechanical properties of raw materials can be improved, their moisture behavior controled, electrical properties changed ,or optical properties adjusted.

Applications include specialty papers, paper coating, packaging, and building materials. In addition to the paper and packaging industry, the construction, vehicle, furniture, electronics, food product, and cosmetics industries can create added value for their products using tailored fiber materials.

The forest industry is going through a major transition, and the use of new technologies will provide a means for strengthening the competitiveness in the sector. By combining basic research, applied research, product development, and business competence, the partners aim to speed up the launch of new profitable products on the world’s market in the near future.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland is the third biggest contract research organization in Europe. Its objective is to develop new technologies, create new innovations, and add product value, thus increasing customer's competitiveness. With its know how, VTT provides research, development, testing and information services to the public sector and companies and to international organizations. www.vtt.fi

Helsinki University of Technology (TKK) is the leading technological university in Finland. TKK’s four faculties have 15,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students. Every year, TKK graduates about 1000 students and confers more than 150 doctoral degrees. This year, TKK will celebrate its 100th anniversary as a university. www.tkk.fi

UPM is one of the world’s leading forest products groups. The Group's sales in 2007 were EUR 10 billion, and it has about 26,000 employees. UPM's main products include printing papers, label materials, and wood products. The company has production units in 14 countries and its main market areas are Europe and North America. UPM's shares are listed on stock exchange in Helsinki, and the company has an ADR program on the OTC market in the United States. www.upm-kymmene.com

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