UPM: the car of the future will be wood-based

Biofore Concept Car premiered at the Geneva International Motor last spring. Full rights owned by UPM.  Photographer: Sami Kulju
Biofore Concept Car premiered at the Geneva International Motor last spring. Copyright: UPM. Photographer: Sami Kulju

“Biofuels are expected to play a major role in road transport but the regulatory environment remains uncertain. Legislation is required for the EU to grow in locally produced sustainable biofuels. Therefore the rules need to extend beyond 2020. The long lasting policy processes are now creating uncertainty. Industry and investors need a stable, long term regulatory framework for biofuels”. To say this was Marko Janhunen, Vice President of Stakeholder Relations, UPM Biorefining, last Thursday in Brussels in the framework of CEPI European Paperweek, where the Finnish company presented its Biofore Concept Car, an example of how new biomaterials can be applied in the automotive industry.

Forest based industry can only help the EU Commission to achieve its bioeconomy goals if the competitiveness of the sector is ensured. “We need competiveness and predictability. This enables investments  – which leads to growth, jobs and new innovations”, stated UPM Ceo and President Jussi Pesonen. During the end of this year UPM will bring advanced wood residue based biofuel to the market as the commercial scale biorefinery in Finland is starting. For UPM advanced biofuels create new opportunities for growth. The biorefinery build in Lappeenranta is the first of its kind globally.

The versatile use of renewable wood biomass, combined with innovation, resource efficiency and sustainability, is the cornerstone of UPM´s Biofore strategy. New innovative products can replace non-renewable materials and provide resource-efficient alternatives for the future. The Biofore Concept Car demonstrates this in practice. In the car majority of parts traditionally made from plastics are replaced with high quality biomaterials. Also the engine is fuelled with new wood residue based renewable diesel: UPM BioVerno.

As global demand for resources and energy is surging, forest industry is in the forefront of leading the EU towards a sustainable bioeconomy. Based on the EU Commission’s bioeconomy report the forest industry sector represents 1/3 of EU’s current 2 trillion euro bioeconomy, the other 2/3rds being mainly agriculture and food industry. The sector employs 5 million people directly, indirectly up to 50 million people especially in rural areas.

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