Daniel Pacurar, Boreal Orchards, and Frida Sandberg, RISE.

The Umeå Biotech Incubator-backed ‘Shades of Green’ project, developed by Boreal Orchards, has created a moss that can be used on buildings, infrastructure and for the regeneration of nature. Now founder Daniel Pacurar is collaborating on a new development project with RISE Processum AB and Ecohelix to maximize moss establishment with the help of by-products from the paper pulp industry.

Using by-products from the pulp industry perfectly reflects Boreal Orchard’s core values of circularity and commitment to minimizing its use of resources. The company’s goal is for the moss to be used for infrastructure and to restore areas affected by industry, road construction and mining.

“This project is a great opportunity for us to see if the biopolymers can be applied in our production process, and if it all works on a slightly larger scale”, says Daniel Pacurar from Boreal Orchards.

“Mosses are often associated with forested and natural habitats, and we’ve obviously had this in mind when developing our concept for renewing urban and natural environments with the help of mosses. Our region has well-established wood processing industries that generate a significant amount of by-products that can be reused in a circular manner”.

The project, which is being conducted at RISE in Örnsköldsvik, is set to run until the end of August. RISE and Ecohelix are also excited about the outcome, which could create a new use for paper pulp industry by-products.

“It is an exciting and slightly unusual project. The concept of producible moss is new to us. We have not grown it before in our facility, but it feels exciting to be able to create a new process and see the outcome”, says Frida Sandberg research- and development engineer, of RISE.

Ecohelix’s biopolymer Woodmer is currently used in many fields, and several verification projects are underway. Using the binder in moss production is, however, something completely new.

“We are always interested in projects that verify the possible use of our polymers. This is a bit ‘outside the box’ and feels fun to be a part of. I may not be that familiar with moss, but I do think there is a good chance Woodmer’s polymer will have a positive impact”, says Petri Oinonen, CEO of Ecohelix.

Footnote: The collaboration is performed as an R&D activity within the project Innovation Platform Biorefinery: Accelerate to commercialization, financed by the EU regional development funds, through Tillväxtverket, together with the county of Västernorrland and Västerbotten and the municipalities of Örnsköldsvik, Umeå and Sundsvall.