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A researcher in a laboratory uses a pipette to put liquid into a test tube.
A researcher in a laboratory uses a pipette to put liquid into a test tube.

Brightplus – eco-friendly raw materials from bio-ash

Nowadays, there is intense interest in renewable raw materials. Brightplus Oy applied for and received funding for a project to introduce bio-ash into granules that could be used to replace plastic. This successful work also led to the immediate development of two real products, a biodegradable pet litter and a 3D filament containing bio-ash.

Based in Oulu, Brightplus is a good example of a company whose innovations are taking the world in a more sustainable direction. The company was founded in 2014, but its first project took almost five years to complete.

“We certainly had a pretty exceptional start. The goal of the company’s only project during its startup phase was to develop a new biomaterial from side streams of fish protein production. That work was completed only in 2021, and now we are applying for investment funding for a pilot plant to produce the new material,” says Brightplus founder, managing director and chemist Milja Hannu-Kuure.

Miljöö innovaatiotuki, Milja Hannu-Kuurre, Brightplus OyBrightplus founder, managing director and chemist Milja Hannu-Kuure.

A good idea can benefit the whole world

Brightplus is currently working on several projects with partners in Finland and elsewhere in Europe. The Brightplus project that Oulun Energia is supporting is focused on the use of bio-ash as a component of various materials. The funding granted by Oulun Energia made it possible to study the use of bio-ash in more detail and to carry out a wider range of certifications, biodegradability tests and fire tests, for example in the development of a filament for 3D printing.

“The funding was a great help. Plastic is often a difficult raw material to find a suitable substitute for, but that is why it’s important to find areas where more sustainable alternatives can be used. This work is now well underway with bio-ash, and hopefully many more applications will be found.”

Finding a balance, boldly

According to Hannu-Kuure, we are now experiencing a vibrant and climate-friendly culture of innovation. People want to make sustainable choices, and so businesses should offer them.

“I really feel that the nature around us here inspires us, and helps steer our ideas in the right direction. There are many companies in Finland that are trying to create something new for the good of the environment. Like others, we’re well aware that plastics have many good properties as raw materials, and indeed are indispensable for certain uses and products. However, the aim is to find a smart balance and replace fossil-based plastics with bioplastics wherever possible. The only thing to do is to be open-minded and experiment, as every company has a responsibility to care for the environment.”