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Cellulose Valley: a French research chair to drive new cellulose packaging solutions

Katie Nichol

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Cellulose Valley: a French research chair to drive new cellulose packaging solutions

The Cellulose Valley teaching and research chair aims to develop new cellulose-based materials for packaging applications. Launched by France’s Fondation Grenoble INP, the four-year initiative is backed by DS Smith Packaging France, Ahlstrom Munksjo, Alphaform and Citeo.

Coming up with new packaging solutions from cellulose, some of which could be alternatives to plastics, is the goal of Cellulose Valley, a new teaching and research chair from Fondation Grenoble INP in France. The chair will focus on recyclable and biodegradable materials with the necessary mechanical and barrier properties to be used in packaging.

Julien Bras, the professor and researcher who holds the Cellulose Valley chair, tells Luxe Packaging Insight that all packaging sectors are targeted, from primary and tertiary to food, cosmetics and industrial packaging.

“Cellulose is the most-produced material on earth each year, and is the superstar of renewable natural polymers,” says Bras. “Not only does cellulose fiber have the advantage of being recyclable in a well-mastered paper recycling process, but it is also biodegradable.”

Cellulose Valley is hosted by Grenoble INP - Pagora, UGA, International graduate school of Paper, Print media and Biomaterials, and the Laboratory of Pulp and Paper Science and Graphic Arts. There are plans to fund two theses, a post-doctorate and around 20 master’s degree courses.

Initially planned to run for four years, Cellulose Valley has the support of packaging company DS Smith Packaging France, nonwovens and specialty papers specialist Ahlstrom Munksjö, molded cellulose player Alphaform (part of food packaging purveyor Groupe Guillin) and environmental organization Citeo. “The partners will actively participate in the Chair's roadmap, in particular by providing guidance and support for the 20 master's courses, which will focus on proof of concept for industry,” explains Bras.

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