66 participants gathered into auditorium Miilu in Petäjävesi, Finland in 7th of March to hear about the new opportunities related to wood-based materials and bioenergy. The seminar was organized in cooperation of two projects that deal with bioeconomy: the BLOOM and the Local energy –projects. As a result of this fruitful cooperation, the whole-day seminar consisted of several interesting openings and presentations about the future possibilities, recent research and practical experiences within the field of bioeconomy.
The BLOOM-project had organized three key speakers into the seminar to tell about the new future opportunities of wood. At first, project specialist Aino Voutilainen from JAMK University of Applied Sciences gave a compact introduction about the BLOOM-project and the hottest topics within the development of wood-based products in Finland. After that, Katariina Torvinen from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland led the crowd into the exiting world of cellulose and nanocellulose research. Katariina opened up the concept of biodegradation and the challenges that product developers have in order to make a bio-based product truly biodegradable in different environments and circumstances. She questioned if it even should be our aim to replace all plastics with bio-based materials – instead, we should put more effort into recycling the material worldwide. According to Katariina, plastic is a great material when used properly, but the problems rise up when the material ends up in the wrong place.
Last – but not least, we heard about the current topics of wood construction and woodwork industries in Finland from Aila Janatuinen from the Federation of Finnish Woodworking Industries. It was discussed that the wood construction has still a marginal share from the overall construction markets in Finland, even though the communications about wood construction may have drawn the picture of Finland as a nation of wooden houses. The public attitude towards wood construction is very positive and, hopefully, in the coming years we will see more wood both in private and public construction.
The second part of the day dealt with different ways of producing local energy and it was organized by the Local energy –project. Many farmers had come into the seminar to hear about the possibilities of bioenergy and heat entrepreneurship as well as what opportunities it could offer to their rural businesses. The most awaited speaker was Erkki Kalmari from Metener Oy who is a pioneer in the biogas production business in Finland. Also, many of the participants were interested in solar energy. Anu Areva from SaloSolar Oy gave an informative presentation of what are the benefits of solar energy and what needs to be taken into consideration when buying solar panels.
Lot of questions and discussion raised up from the crowd and people left the seminar backpacks full of new thoughts and knowledge about what’s bioeconomy and how it does and could relate to their lives. They got a lot of good tips and, hopefully, new beneficial and fruitful connections. All in all, the day was a success and people thought that there’s definitely a demand for these kind of events also in the future. “Keep on the same track” as one of the participants had wrote into the feedback form. And yes, we’ll do that!
Aino Voutilainen, JAMK University of Applied Sciences