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​Wood & Innovations – Czech innovative solutions for Finland

On October 29, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Helsinki organized an all-day virtual conference, during which a number of Czech innovative solutions and ongoing research projects related to wood processing and its use were introduced to Finnish partners. The conference was attended by more than 30 representatives of Czech and Finnish companies and universities and led to an establishment of a number of new connections with the perspective of future co-operation.

After an opening speech, given by the Ambassador of the Czech Republic to Finland, Mr. Ivan Jukl, followed by a speech by the Manager for Innovation Policy at the Finnish Forest Industries, Mr. Antti Tahvanainen, five Czech companies introduced their innovative solutions in the area of wood processing, wood treatment and its use. Company Adichem presented its impregnation coating Tairon, which overcomes most of the disadvantages of similar products on the market thanks to its minimal toxicity, low viscosity and high penetration capacity using nanoparticles. Elite Timber Construction has introduced its revolutionary MirDesign wooden building concept, which is fundamentally changing the functional, aesthetic and environmental approach to a modern living. The company FN NANO has long been dedicated to photocatalytic functional coatings using nanotechnology and at the conference introduced its relatively new functional coating FN Wood. Grena focuses on the production of board materials, out of which non-combustible wood imitating vermiculite boards with a wide range of uses in construction were presented at the conference. Home3 has introduced its comprehensive concept of a healthy wooden building with controlled ionization ION HOUSE, which aim to ensure the same healthy environment inside buildings as in nature.

The afternoon session was dedicated to presentations of the largest Finnish wood companies, namely UPM and Stora Enso, and of the Technical Research Centre of Finland known as VTT. UPM Biomedicals presented its R&D activities, as well as their specific products using nanocellulose for regenerative medicine. Stora Enso, Europe's largest supplier of timber construction materials, presented their high-rise timber construction projects as a long-term sustainable solution that radically reduces emissions and increases the speed of construction, having an overall significantly more favorable environmental impact. VTT presented its R&D in the field of the use of lignin for the production of thermoplastic materials, coatings, resin replacements, functional additives, as well as for water purification and energy storage.

The last part of the conference was devoted to the activities of universities and their co-operation with companies and to the implementation of the research results into practice. On the Czech side, the Faculty of Forestry and Wood Science of the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague presented its activities, with a focus on coatings for wooden exteriors, wood processing, thermal modification of wood, biomaterials, laboratory testing (also at companies’ disposal), utilization of lignin, increasing wood resistance and many others. The Department of Wood Science and Technology at Mendel University in Brno focuses, among others, on wood anatomy, acoustics, analysis of the disintegration process, numerical models of wood aging, wood conservation, construction bonds without the use of adhesives, wood surface treatment, and, in addition to that, in co-operation with foreign universities (including the Finnish Aalto University) also on carbonation of wood. The Technical University of Ostrava presented the so-called smart wooden bridge project, which combines the use of wood infested by the bark beetle with modern online monitoring technologies. Representatives of the University of Oulu presented the ongoing R&D in the field of thermoplastics made from biomass and their practical use. The Technical Research Centre of Finland VTT presented its innovative activities in the field of biomaterials, and also addressed the possibilities of partnership and co-operation with Czech research institutions and companies.

The conference proved that opportunities for export and R&D co-operation for Czech companies and institutions do exist, even in the field in which Finland can be rightly regarded as a superpower. Thanks to the wide range of activities of Finnish companies and institutions, there are concrete windows of opportunities for smart innovative solutions with high added value. The Czech Embassy in Helsinki will continue to support the prospective co-operation of Czech and Finnish entities in this field and believes that this project has laid a good foundation for it.