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Invest in open innovation at Braviken

Invest in open innovation and your own incubator. That was the advice Holmen, the forestry company, received when GIN2012 participants participated in a Sustainability Jam Session at the Braviken forestry combine.

It’s difficult and cumbersome for a mature industrial enterprise like Holmen to pursue innovations and invest in entrepreneurship, the Jam Session participants observed. Instead, invest in developing a Holmen Sustainability Incubator, where entrepreneurs with good ideas can grow and develop, and learn about the infrastructure within the Holmen forestry combine.

This, in brief, was the advice that Klas Simes, head of the Holmen Biorefinery Development Centre, received from the twenty-odd researchers and interns participating in the Holmen Sustainability Jam Session during the GIN2012 conference.

“An eye-opener”, said Simes, commenting on the results.

Presently, the mill takes in 1 million cubic metres of timber per year; an amount corresponding to 70 heavy goods vehicles trucks per day. In addition there is an equal amount of spruce pulpwood equivalent to 1 million cubic metres per year.

From all these raw materials they produce 750,000 tons of newsprint and journal paper, uncoloured as well as pink, and 1,250,000 tons of wood pulp. 225,000 tons of recycled fibre are also used in production. The sawmill produces 550,000 cubic metres of sawed timber per year, which becomes construction material, wooden frames, and more.

However there is a large amount of material left over, such as bark, shavings, sawdust, and wood chips. Portions are pressed into pellets, but most of them are burned without being refined. The energy content is approximately 1 TWh, which corresponds to electricity for 200,000 Swedish households. Up until this point...

Carla och Don

It was also here that the challenges began for the Jam Session participants: Holmen wanted to know how they could best utilise the large flow of raw materials, and which mechanisms are needed to render investment in new technology possible.

And, of course, Simes was privy to a range of concrete ideas for products and a few proposals for strategies, primarily advice to invest in open innovation and an incubator where entrepreneurs could retain access to Holmen’s enormous resources in the form of materials and infrastructure.

However Professor Don Huisingh of the United States also sounded a warning to Holmen. Huisingh from the University of Tennessee is also editor of the high-ranking scientific periodical Journal of Cleaner Production.

“Concentrate your efforts on your own quality work in the core operations.”

During the introductory viewing of both the sawmill and the paper mill, all three paper machines in Braviken were stopped and two of them suffered major paper jams.


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Monica Westman Svenselius 2012-10-24




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Last updated: 2012-10-31