The Group conducts research and development (R&D) both in-house at business area level and externally.
Internal R&D is focused on functional products and energy and resource-efficient processes. This has led to a steady decline in specific use of raw materials and energy, while the characteristics of the products have been refined.
The Holmen Development Department is responsible for and coordinates the combined R&D activity. The business areas are responsible for development in their own core operations. HU builds up new knowledge, identifying and initiating future business opportunities based on sustainability-driven research, innovation and product development.
The external R&D activities are jointly run with other players, often at an industry-wide level and in collaboration with universities, institutes of technology and research institutions. The main emphasis is on product development and enhancing process efficiency, although forest growth and improving the efficiency of forestry are also important focal areas.
Collaboration is under way with partners including Svenska RISE Bioekonomi, MoRe Research, SweTree Technologies, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Chalmers University of Technology, Luleå University of Technology, Umeå University, Mid Sweden University, Karlstad University, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Skogforsk. In Norway, Holmen collaborates with the Paper and Fibre Research Institute. Initiated a few years ago, a collaboration is ongoing with a university in Israel, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
One example of such a collaboration is the establishment of a pilot plant for crystalline nanocellulose in Örnsköldsvik. The plant will be the first of its kind in Europe. The material has many interesting properties and can be used for barrier material, construction materials, biocomposites and printed electronics. Operations at the plant are based on the technology of the Israeli startup company Melodea, with Holmen discharging its role both as a catalyst for getting the plant built and as a shareholder in Melodea.