UPM Biochemicals acquires SunCoal Industries

UPM Biochemicals has acquired SunCoal Industries GmbH, a German-based company that developed a unique technology portfolio to produce performance products from renewable raw materials. With this acquisition SunCoal Industries’ technology will be integrated into the production of UPM’s BioMotionTM Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF), one of the products to be produced at UPM Biochemical’s first-of-its kind biorefinery in Leuna and strengthen the overall technology portfolio of UPM’s biorefining businesses.

The ownership of SunCoal Industries and its team specializing in lignin valorization enables UPM to strengthen the role as a leading supplier of sustainable, renewable functional fillers to the rubber and plastic markets by further developing the technology inhouse. SunCoal Industries’ experts will bring additional capabilities to further develop the RFF production technology and processes and support UPM’s ambitious growth plans in the biorefining space.

Founded in 2007, SunCoal Industries is located in Ludwigsfelde, Brandenburg, with pilot and lab facilities and employs 30 people. The company invented a globally patented hydrothermal treatment technology and licenced it to UPM for the production of wood-based functional fillers. The technology is implemented on an industrial scale for the first time at the biorefinery in Leuna.

“This acquisition will strengthen our position in the renewable chemicals markets and marks a next step in the growth of our biorefining businesses,” says Winfried Schaur, Executive Vice President Technology & Biorefining at UPM. “Scaling our biorefinery businesses is one of the key transformative steps for UPM. With the successful advanced biofuels refinery in Lappeenranta, the emerging biochemicals refinery in Leuna and the planned fuels and chemicals refinery in Rotterdam, UPM is taking a leading role in providing alternatives to oil based fuels and chemicals. The SunCoal acquisition announced today will broaden our patent base and contribute to further evolving our offering of innovative, sustainable chemicals.”

“After many years of trustful cooperation in supporting the realization of the Leuna biorefinery, we are excited that the SunCoal team will now be involved even more. We see UPM with their growth strategy as a global pioneer in the bioeconomy sector. For us, UPM’s commitment to building the plant in Saxony-Anhalt is a prime example of a successful German-Finnish cooperation in an emerging technology driven market”, say Tobias Wittmann and Friedrich von Ploetz, founding partners of SunCoal Industries.

UPM invests EUR 1,180 million to build the world’s first industrial scale biorefinery in Leuna, Germany. In Leuna, UPM will convert sustainably sourced, certified hardwood into next generation biochemicals that will enable the vital shift away from fossil-based to renewable materials across a wide range of industries. One of the products from the Leuna biorefinery will be the UPM BioMotionTM Renewable Functional Fillers, enabling a radical step forward in the sustainability performance of rubber and plastic products in various end-uses. The Leuna biorefinery is part of a broader growth area, UPM Biorefining, focused on scaling refineries producing a variety of renewable fuels and chemicals made from sustainable biomass.

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