Forestia is building a new factory that will clean used wood. The company is investing NOK 290 million, and NOK 80 million of this comes from grants from Innovation Norway.
Forestia, one of the cornerstone companies in Innlandet County, wants to clean used timber from its own activities and is investing heavily in establishing a new production line to process such returned wood. The factory will be an important contribution to the circular economy and the green transition, and it is estimated that the factory will be able to provide no fewer than 100 jobs in Braskereidfoss in Våler Municipality.
After the board of Innovation Norway decided to award Forestia a grant totalling NOK 80 million in spring 2022, the project can now be realised.
Significant environmental benefits
Forestia is one of Scandinavia’s largest producers of wood fibreboard and currently exports about 45 per cent of its turnover. The factor input in these boards is largely unused wood chips. Higher demand and new EU requirements are increasing the price pressure on wood chips and making the company think outside the box.
The new production factory in Våler will sort and process mixed returned wood, and the goal is to replace around 40 per cent of the wood chips used in current board production with what is recovered. The process is designed to rid used wood of ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, heavy metals, fragments of plastic, and chemical compounds, and the final product will have almost the same quality as new wood.
The process will sequester almost 160,000 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. According to the EU requirements, Innlandet County must reduce its CO2 emissions by 55 per cent by 2030. It is calculated that this establishment alone will stand for 13 per cent of this goal.
Positioning itself internationally
The funds from Innovation Norway will primarily go to planning and building the factory in Våler, which will be the first of its kind in Norway and important in the face of international competition.
“We are very pleased that a local company wants to take an international position by adopting new circular value chains. Forestia uses existing technology in new ways, and this is producing a positive environmental impact and helps to strengthen the company’s competitiveness,” says Director Sverre Bjørnstad at Innovation Norway Innlandet.
The funding is the largest Innovation Norway’s regional office in Innlandet County has ever provided. The amount of NOK 80 million consisted of an environmental technology grant and an environmental investment grant, as well as a substantial amount from the county authority’s rural funds. These county authority rural funds, which are allocated via Innovation Norway, are a programme designed to protect and grow jobs in rural municipalities.
Significant support from Innovation Norway
Forestia first applied for funding for the project in 2020, although at the time the framework of the business support system put a stop to Innovation Norway being able to contribute as the company wished. In the national budget for 2022, Innovation Norway was allocated NOK 100 million for green investment grants for industrial companies in rural areas and it was thus able to support the project.
“In this process, we have received invaluable assistance from Innovation Norway, which has stuck at it and demonstrated a willingness to help us throughout the entire process. It has provided expertise, networks, and an innovation mindset for finding solutions, and which resulted in the company’s application being finally approved,” says Kristian Hanssen, CEO at Forestia.