Microcellulose is obtained by grinding pulp fibres smaller, to the size of micrometres. Even finer in texture are nanocellulose and fibrills.
The advantage of microcellulose is that it can be used to produce extremely hard and durable products. For instance, board made from microcellulose is so hard that no mark can be made on it with normal edged blades.
On the other hand, it is very expensive to make microcellulose. This is why it is usually used in very small amounts.
The world’s first pilot microcellulose mill was opened at Stora Enso Imatra Mills in early 2015, with the aim of exploring possible uses of microcellulose. One of the uses of microcellulose is packaging board, where it is added to normal pulp to give more strength. This makes makes it possible to produce thinner and lighter packages without losing strength.
Stora Enso has named the concept New Natura. The company has manufactured more than a hundred million packages for liquids to Elopak for East European markets. The supply has expanded to the rest of the Europe as well.
In the future possible uses of microcellulose will be in plastic bags, sports equipments and cosmetics. An additional option is to replace the aluminiun film inside liquid packages with microcellulose.