Wed February 15 12:00 pm 2023 in category Company news
FAST RACE, BIG CHANGE: Renewable rubber made from residue birch bark is the winner of Nokian Tyres’ sustainability innovation challenge
Nokian Tyres plc Press release February 15, 2023 at 12:00 noon
Nokian Tyres launched the FAST RACE, BIG CHANGE sustainable tire innovation challenge last year to find new solutions for more sustainable tires. The challenge was open for all businesses, students and researchers. Nokian Tyres received almost 50 applications from 18 different countries, and from them a team of Nokian Tyres experts chose four finalists. At the finals event held in Lapland this January, the jury awarded Reselo AB from Sweden with the winning place. Reselo’s innovative renewable rubber made from residue birch bark convinced the judges with its versatility and future potential.
Innovations tested with a pitch from a car speeding on an ice-track
The finals event of the FAST RACE, BIG CHANGE innovation challenge was held at Nokian Tyres’ legendary test center White Hell, situated in Finnish Lapland. The winning innovation was put to the test along with the three other finalists in a heart-racing pitching session from an electric vehicle speeding on an icy tire test track for one lap. The pitches were streamed lived to a panel of judges, who the finalists faced after their speedy pitches in the car. In addition to Reselo the other finalists were Microwave solutions GmbH from Switzerland, Universal Matter Inc. from Canada and a simulation modelling expert from Italy.
Renewable rubber made from birch bark residue is the winner
After careful consideration the expert panel of judges chose Reselo’s innovative solution as the winner. Reselo’s renewable rubber utilizes birch bark sourced from the residue of the global pulp, paper and plywood industry. According to Reselo, a single mill creates 100,000 tons of birch bark residue on average every year, and the forest industry in Finland and Sweden alone produce enough raw material for 200,000 tons of Reselo's unique rubber. The biorefinery concept Reselo uses is also designed to minimize the environmental impact of the material.
“We were really impressed with the capabilities and versatility of the material. It was also important for us that the material was produced from the side stream of other industries. The company and the team itself are highly dedicated. We want to be part of their success story, and we believe that Reselo will be one of the steppingstones towards our own goal of having 50% of the raw materials in our tires renewable or recycled by 2030”, says Teemu Soini, Head of Innovation & Development from Nokian Tyres.
As the winner of the FAST RACE, BIG CHANGE Reselo received a monetary prize as well as the opportunity to explore a business or development partnership with Nokian Tyres.
“I am amazed and pleased that we won. The cooperation with Nokian Tyres will be a fantastic opportunity for us. It is a confirmation for our invention and the material itself. Our journey together is just beginning but the early results are promising. We hope that our renewable rubber can one day be part of a Nokian Tyres tire”, says Henrik Otendal, CEO and one of the founders of Reselo.
Solutions for more sustainable driving without compromises
Nokian Tyres wants to show sustainability leadership in tire industry. The company has ambitious targets in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions as well as increasing the share of renewable or recycled raw materials without compromises on safety.
“We launched this competition because we want to stay at the forefront of sustainable tire industry and for that we need new innovative partners joining our quest. We are really pleased with the outcome. We received many high-quality applications and choosing the four finalists was already a demanding task. Luckily at the finals event we had respected and well-known external jury members who supported our decision-making with their valuable input. We feel strongly that we made the right call with Reselo and I am sure we will make great things together in the future”, Soini says.
The members of the grand jury were Anke Blume Head of the chair of Elastomer Technology and Engineering from Universite Twente, Sven Thiele Senior R&D Leader, Process & Product Development from Synthos and Christer Steinsson, Manager, Global Customer Service from Volvo Cars. The Nokian Tyres representatives of the jury were Head of Innovation & Development Teemu Soini, VP Sustainability & Quality Teppo Huovila, SVP Communication, Investor Relations and Brand Päivi Antola and Senior Manager, Materials Development Anne Ojala.
Read more about the challenge on the FAST RACE, BIG CHANGE web site.