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Innomost Oy and KIP Infra Oy have signed an agreement to build a pilot plant producing biocompounds from birch bark. The construction works have now started in Kokkola Industrial Park. The pilot plant is used for upcycling valuable birch bark compounds to replace environmentally harmful ingredients, like microplastics and palm oils, in products from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals.

Finnish pioneer in upcycling, Innomost Oy is advancing the global growth plan to the next level with the start of the construction of the pilot production plant. The modern production facilities are built in Kokkola Industrial Park in collaboration with KIP Infra Oy and the construction company Jake Rakennus Bygg Oy.

Innomost is a growth company that develops and produces high-quality bioactive compounds out of side streams from the Finnish forest industry. Valuable compounds are made of lower value side streams by upcycling, with additional benefit of low carbon footprint. Last year the company completed a funding round of 5 million € to build a pilot plant in Kokkola, Finland and to scale up the business to global level. The pilot plant is used for upcycling valuable birch bark compounds to replace environmentally harmful ingredients in products from cosmetics to pharmaceuticals. Now the project is taking a big step forward as the pilot plant construction project is advancing.

KIP Infra Oy operates in Kokkola Industrial Park (KIP) and offers companies in the Park a ready infrastructure together with practical, all-round service provision. KIP Infra Oy actively develops the competitiveness, reliability, and safety of existing and future companies in the Park. It improves the operating conditions of companies by among other things letting facilities, providing logistics services and by managing a company’s land and buildings and infrastructure.

 “We are excited about this cooperation with Innomost, as it strengthens the importance of the chemical industry in Kokkola Industrial Park and brings new knowhow and creates synergies,” says Jaakko Pöykkö CEO of KIP Infra Oy.

The construction company Jake Rakennus Bygg Oy has long experience in environmentally friendly and sustainable construction projects. “Cooperation with Innomost is important to us. We want to lead the way in sustainable construction and ensure that traditional construction also follows the thinking of sustainable development. We are excited about this cooperation and the unique opportunity to show our strengths within this project” summarizes Johan Asplund, CEO of Jake Rakennus Bygg Oy.

The construction of the pilot production plant is the next step towards sustainable production of upcycled cosmetics ingredients into the global market.

“By replacing fossil and palm oil -based ingredients with wooden side streams, we can do our part in slowing down climate change. Looking globally our pilot plant is a small, but very important step towards production of sustainable ingredients in large volumes,” says Sami Selkälä, Founder and CEO of Innomost. “By using birch bark side streams, Innomost can upcycle naturally occurring raw materials that would normally be used for energy production or other lower value purposes into high-quality products. The products are more environmentally sustainable, as they derive from a renewable carbon source rather than similar fossil fuel-based materials.” Selkälä continues.

The pilot production plant is designed to meet the high quality and safety standards of the cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The aim is to leverage environmentally friendly and sustainable production solutions and lower the carbon footprint throughout the production process. The pilot plant utilizes biobased heat and electricity provided by Kokkolan Energia. With the objective of zero carbon footprint in the production process, Innomost provides the wooden surplus raw material to Kokkolan Energia to be upcycled to carbon neutral bioenergy, that then can be used in the Innomost pilot plant.

The pilot production plant is located in the heart of the large Kokkola Industrial Area in Kokkola, Finland. The 700m2 production building will be divided into various spaces. The modern production facilities include two separate halls for production, a large warehouse area, a laboratory area with the latest technologies as well as modern premises for the personnel.

The production area is divided into two separated units for raw material handling and for clean cosmetic production. In the raw material handling space, up to 1000 tons of birch bark can be upcycled and sustainably processed annually. The clean cosmetic production hall has production capacity up to 100 tons on yearly bases. The clean cosmetic production area is designed to meet the high requirements and standards of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) system to ensure that manufacturing products, such as cosmetics and pharmaceutical ingredients, are consistently produced and controlled according to set quality standards. The ATEX classified production hall meets European Union regulations that are designed to ensure the safety of products being used in explosive environments. Explosive atmospheres are work areas that contain flammable gases, mists or vapours or by combustible dusts.

The modern laboratory premises are equipped with the latest technology for advanced testing, analysis, and on-going innovation purposes. “Our current portfolio of biodegradable and sustainable products derived from birch are though just a starting point for the innovation potential of our company “says CEO Sami Selkälä, “Our vision is to help our customers by offering them innovative and high-quality solutions to meet their green goals and make a positive impact for a sustainable world. We have endless possibilities for the future”, Sami continues.

The pilot plant will be ready by the end of 2022 with a capacity of 20 tons of birch bark products per year. Innomost’s current product portfolio consists of birch charcoal powder, birch bark powder, betulin, suberin and azelaic acid. These ingredients are perfect for innovation in all cosmetic product categories including skincare, haircare, body care, decorative cosmetics, and oral care, as well as for other industry use.