Teknos involved in developing bio-based and biodegradable protective equipment

Teknos is involved in a project that develops bio-based and biodegradable protective equipment such as surgical face masks to replace current fossil-based materials. The background of the BIOPROT project is the global corona pandemic, which caused a global shortage of protective equipment in the healthcare industry.

The goal of the BIOPROT project is to develop user-friendly and ecological protective equipment that can also be used to fight infections. At the same time, the purpose is to increase the self-sufficiency of Finnish protective equipment production. The project also develops business models, circular economy strategies, procurement processes and other models to support overall value and sustainability. Teknos participates in the project as an expert in coating solutions. The project is led by LUT University and kicked off in the beginning of 2022.

Trash amount could decrease with 1 billion masks

Today, most of the protective equipment imported to Europe comes from Asia and are made from fossil synthetic raw materials such as polypropylene. The life cycle of disposable masks is also short, and long-term use of masks has been noticed to cause various health symptoms such as headaches. The BIOPROT project aims to tackle these problems. The purpose is to develop biobased protective equipment in line with sustainable development and which include antiviral solutions. The masks can then also be used to fight against infections.

The new solutions are estimated to reduce waste by 4,000 tons annually, which is equivalent to one billion face masks. The final products aim also to be safer and more comfortable to use, and they are developed in cooperation with healthcare professionals.

Natural antiviral agents

The project focuses on respiratory protection and surgical mouth-nose protection as well as reusable protection intended for industrial use. Competitive advantage is created by combining several different technologies and materials from nature: bio-based materials, natural antiviral solutions, and digital solutions. Antiviral solutions are currently being sought from the wood industry products. For example, the antiviral properties of pine compounds have been researched into. Promising preliminary results have also been obtained for other wood species. Digital solutions, on the other hand, enable e.g., monitoring of the product's functionality in real time.

Research results utilised in Teknos own products

Teknos is part in the top-level project, but further conducts research in its own separate sub-projects. The aim is to see if antiviral solutions emerging from the studies could be utilised in the company’s own products, and to increase new materials and testing methods.

"The goal is to bring the discovered antimicrobial solutions to further applications, such as interior paints. Our expertise in coatings on fibre materials and our long-term knowledge with antimicrobial coatings will help us to achieve the joint goal, and the partner network gives us further opportunities to develop more sustainable coatings to different target groups", Pasi Virtanen, R&D Manager, Innovations, at Teknos Group says. The BIOPROT project is part of the wider Expand Fibre ecosystem, of which Teknos is a member. The project is funded by Business Finland.

More information:
Pasi Virtanen 
Group R&D Manager, Innovations 
+358 468503546