UPM Launches Functional Fillers to Reduce CO₂ Emission of Plastics

Radical Step Toward Sustainability

UPM BioMotion™ will enable a radical step forward in the sustainability performance of rubber and plastic products in a variety of end-uses, notably by significantly reducing their CO₂ footprint and weight.

The RFF portfolio will be produced from sustainably sourced hardwood at our first-of-its-kind biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. The launch of this new product range emphasizes UPM’s promise to create a future beyond fossils and marks another step in the company’s transformation. With the building of the biorefinery in Leuna progressing, we now start taking visible steps in commercializing our portfolio of innovative renewable chemicals. This is a clear signal to the market that we are going to be a credible and competent partner in transforming our customers’ businesses to become more sustainable,» says Juuso Konttinen, vice president UPM biochemicals.

They are suitable for use in a broad range of elastomers, thermoplastic compounds, and thermoplastic elastomers in numerous industries such as automotive, flooring or footwear. Mass production of RFF in Leuna will ramp up during 2023. Product testing and development as well as compounding services started in a modern application development centre on site in Leuna, which will officially open later this year.

New Patent-protected Process

UPM’s patent-protected process to produce UPM BioMotion™ RFF is new which uses wood from sustainably managed forests and side streams from sawmill operations to produce UPM BioMotion™ RFF and other biochemicals.

UPM uses certified hardwood from regional forests and has established a tight chain of custody monitoring. This makes the UPM BioMotion™ RFF feedstock truly sustainable and provides a viable economic perspective to forest owners, fully in line with the German Federal Forest Strategy.

Beyond the improved carbon footprint, UPM BioMotion™ RFF help end-use products to become cleaner and yielding an overall enhanced environmental performance due to the higher renewable content.

In addition, they guarantee excellent technical performance while enabling weight savings of up to 25 percent in final rubber products compared to those produced with fossil-based fillers. These weight savings are a clear additional value add, especially for the automotive industry, where lower weight means better mileage, lower costs, and a further reduction of CO₂ emissions.

Awards from Industry Associations

The product’s transformative character and strong environmental performance have been awarded by relevant industry associations and trade media. UPM is currently using test batches of RFF to work with the leading companies in the rubber-processing industry globally on the development, qualification, and pre-industrial production of final products for various industries.

UPM’s Research and Development and commercial teams are continuously extending their network with partners in the relevant value chains. UPM is finalizing a state-of-the-art test and development facility in Leuna, supporting product development and testing.

The UPM biorefinery will produce renewable monoethylene glycol (bMEG), renewable monopropylene glycol (bMPG) and Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF) from sustainably sourced, certified hardwood with an annual capacity of 220.000 tons.

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