Three ongoing Stora Enso projects

Photo: Stora Enso

Packaging materials, battery, and glue – product development is progressing rapidly, and the interest in wood as a raw material is significant.

Packaging materials

Ek and her research group are developing a dry foam made from paper pulp. Currently, all foam products in the packaging industry are made from fossil materials, so a more sustainable alternative is needed.

Foam from paper pulp can either be made fluffy like glass wool or more compact like polyethylene foam. As Papira, as the foam is known, has excellent shock-absorbing properties, it is initially intended to be used as a packaging material, although it would also be suitable as insulation in refrigerated transport.

“In the future, we also think that this material can be used for interior decoration, insulation and acoustics,” says Ek.


A lot of research is being conducted into lignin, a main component of wood. Lignin binds the cellulose fibres in wood and holds fibres together in trees. Lignin tends not to be wanted for paper and cardboard manufacture, so is removed during the pulp process and considered waste.

“By converting lignin into carbon, we have succeeded in developing anodes for batteries which in turn can be used for energy storage. So, it’s possible to make batteries from wood, from something that’s also been ‘left over’ from another process,” explains Ek.

During pulp production, the lignin is removed, and it can be used in battery production. Photo: Stora Enso


Development is also underway into different types of lignin-based glues. For example, lignin can be used as a binder to hold fibres together in glass wool, which is used as building insulation. This avoids the use of toxic chemicals, which is good for the environment and human health.