An innovation that uses birch bark as an alternative source of rubber won Nokian Tyres‘ “Fast Race, Big Change” innovation challenge hosted at the company’s winter tire testing facility in Finalnd, known as “White Hell.” Nokian said the expert panel of judges chose the innovative solution from Reselo AB, a sustainable biomaterials company from Sweden, because rubber birch bark sourced from the residue of the global pulp, paper and plywood industry is a renewable resource.
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 produces 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.
Nokian said the challenge was open to all businesses, students and researchers, and received almost 50 applications from 18 different countries. From them, a team of Nokian Tyres experts chose four finalists. At the finals event held in Lapland, Finland, this January, the jury awarded Reselo as the winner.
“We were really impressed with the capabilities and versatility of the material,” said Teemu Soini, head of innovation and development from Nokian Tyres. “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 stepping stones towards our own goal of having 50% of the raw materials in our tires renewable or recycled by 2030.”
As the winner of the challenge, 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,” said Henrik Otendal, CEO and one of the founders of Reselo. “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.”