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EXILVA Report Summary

Project ID: 709746

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EXILVA (Flagship demonstration of an integrated plant towards large scale supply and market assessment of MFC)

Reporting period: 2016-05-01 to 2017-10-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The objective for the Exilva project is to commercialise the Exilva product, microfibrillated cellulose (MFC).
The work tasks include start-up of the world’s first industrial sized microfibrillar cellulose plant (Figure 1), development of the market, advanced product characterization of both MFC and its function in selected applications and finally life cycle analysis (LCA).
Borregaard, Unilever, Chimar, KTH, OSTFOLD and Ayming are the project partners.
The project had a very good start; the plant is operational and the market development work attracts many new prospects within new fields. Technology transfer between the partners have been successfully conducted and the advanced characterization, application testing, and LCA work is progressing according to plan.
Borregaard has increased its resources spent on the market development of the Exilva product within the project period in order to continue the momentum in this process. The focus is especially linked to turning the prospects from a final testing phase to a qualified commercial customer.

1.1. Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project
The overall objective for the project is to start up the first industrial microfibrillated plant and develop the market for this technology. The plant is operative and the market development is given very high attention, signalled by the hiring of five more full time equivalents to the project. Product characterization and LCA analysis are ongoing as scheduled. The project is currently working within several different application areas including adhesives, coatings, personal care, home care, agricultural chemicals, oilfield, construction, composites, automotive, and packaging. The functionalities from Exilva MFC in these application areas are often linked to the flow (rheology) of materials, stability, strength and barrier properties. Exilva shows very good efficacy and can both increase product performance as well as improving the products sustainability profiles. The objective for the flagship project is to successfully upscale from existing pilot plant to full-scale flagship plant and to demonstrate industrial symbiosis between the biomass/forest industry and the various applications that find the microfibrillated cellulose to add value to their product systems or production streams.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

1.2. Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
The EXILVA project started May 1st, 2016 in 5 European countries (Norway, England, France, Greece and Sweden).
The flagship plant is operational, and almost all main activities are according to schedule. An exception is the packaging line. Due to packaging problems with the bags, the whole packaging concept was redesigned. At the end of October 2017, the new packaging line was installed. The delay caused no issues with shipment or deliveries. The product is currently packed manually.
The production technology is successfully transferred from the pilot plant to the flagship plant. All the process steps started in a sequential manner, and produced material is within the specifications set for the product.
The project has identified areas within the process that need to be improved in order to reach specified quality and volume. The changes include both re-building, optimization and operational training.
The product generates high level of publicity and interest due to novelty, high dissemination activity and general activity level from Borregaard and the consortium partners. This has resulted in a variety of potential application areas with commercial and technical proof of concepts for the product. In addition, commercial sale has been reached in applications which were not part of the application portfolio when starting the project. The interaction between the partners in the consortium has successfully started, with first deliverables already being met.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

Exilva has shown significant functionality in a wider range of applications. In some of the cases, the dosage efficiency is better than expected. These findings have a positive impact for the development of green sustainable products that give innovation opportunities for the industries and subsequent safeguarding and expanding these industries. The flagship plant in Sarpsborg, Norway and its related 38 FTEs is creating significant socioeconomic impact so far.

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