CH-Bioforce to receive up to 15 M€ from European Innovation Council for building a new biomass processing plant
CH-Bioforce is a Finnish start-up known for one of the world's leading technologies to gently extract all the main components of biomass in one process. As the end result are pure biomaterials that provide new alternatives as sustainable feedstocks for industries developing for example chemical, textile and packaging applications. In summer 2022 CH-Bioforce secured a significant funding decision of up to 15 M€ from the EIC Accelerator to build a biomass processing plant in Raisio in 2024. Spinverse supported the company in their successful funding application process.
The business idea of CH-Bioforce is based on industrial and especially on agricultural side streams. The company’s operations are founded on a ‘from waste to value’ mindset.
Breakthrough technology in wood chemistry
CH-Bioforce got its start in a garage in a small Finnish village, where three friends, namely Lari Vähäsalo (R&D Director), Sebastian von Schoultz (Chief Business Officer) and Nicholas Lax (currently CTO at CH-Bioforce) with wood and paper chemistry background set up a small home-made pressure reactor and started to experiment with unconventional chemistry. Their aim was to enhance the existing pulping processes. Eventually, out came pure hemicelluloses, sulfur-free lignin, and very pure cellulose. Today, the revolutionary biomass fractionation technology, BLN-fractionation developed by BLN-Woods, is being commercialized by CH-Bioforce.
In photo: Nicholas Lax, Sebastian von Schoultz and Lari Vähäsalo.
Currently a company employing more than 10 persons, CH-Bioforce has their demonstration plant in Smart Chemistry Park in Raisio, where there are a lot of synergies with the other companies. As opposed to the 50% or even less of biomass usage in traditional cellulose plants, the CH-Bioforce technology can fractionate 95% of the biomass components, which can be converted into high-quality biopolymers such as dissolving pulp, hemicellulose and sulphur-free lignin. CH-Bioforce continues to deliver material samples to various customers for further testing and application development, sharing the driving force to develop fossil-free products for the various end users in chemical, textile and packaging industries.
Nicholas Lax explains: “The fractionation technology is not too picky about the raw materials as long as it is something that grows — any old saw dust and residuals from chipboard factories are all welcome for fractionation. From the point of view of reducing CO2 and for example phosphate emissions, collecting straw from the fields and common reed from the sea and lakes for fractionation is also a feasible and sustainable possibility in the future.”
Spinverse experts supported the ‘Bioforce of nature’ in taking steps forward
CH-Bioforce is now looking into scaling up their operations with the newly granted funding to build an industrial-sized biorefinery plant. It is planned to be up and running by 2024 and it will be the only actor in Finland to be able to produce polymeric hemicellulose at this scale.
Public funding experts at Spinverse supported CH-Bioforce during their successful project proposal process by helping the company with the quality check of the proposal and coaching them in their pitch. CH-Bioforce CEO Petri Tolonen says: “The decision on the equity granted by the European Innovation Council is very important to us and it helps us get other investors involved in financing the project. Spinverse helped us a lot during the application process. Their guidance and support were really needed — thank you Spinverse.”
The European Innovation Council (EIC) accelerates the emergence of innovations by providing funding and support for the development of future technologies and the commercialisation and scaling of research results.
More information: https://www.ch-bioforce.com/