Hankkija FFI committed to Circular Economy

Hannele Kettunen, R&D Manager

According to the principles of circular economy, materials used and produced in industrial processes shall be utilized and recycled as efficiently as possible, and for as long as possible. By-products of industrial processes are not seen as waste, but as valued raw material for other businesses. When these principles are met, the original raw materials contribute to several products and utilities, and the value chains become longer, more diverse, and ultimately circular.

Looking for novel solutions for sustainable development

Circular economy rises from understanding and respecting the limits of global natural resources. In a finite world with increasing human population size, wasting material streams is not an option. Novel processes and technologies are needed for sustainable development, food security, and clean environment.

But circular economy is not only about green values, but also about economic profitability and doing things in a smart way. Resource-efficacy is a key to profitability. Recycling of materials is beneficial both to the producer and to the buyer. The value of circular economy is becoming widely accepted, and there is no turning back to the old systems of producing multiple waste streams along with one main product.

Atmosphere of networking and partnership among businesses

Well known for Hankkija FFI and other players of circular economy is that this approach creates an atmosphere of networking and partnership among businesses. For recognizing the best matches between a by-product and its potential user, interorganizational collaboration is initiated. Innovation funding agencies, universities, and other research institutes often have important roles in the process, which leads to tailored by-products for the prospective buyer. Decision to finance a new production plant may well depend on finding long-term buyers for material streams. Apart from efficient and productive, this way of working is highly motivating and exiting, as it offers insights into multiple bioindustries and ways of working.

Already years ago, Hankkija FFI made a concise commitment to circular economy.  Feed innovations Progres® and Progut® are manufactured according to these principles. Our focus is to develop and produce feed ingredients for improved gastrointestinal functions and feed efficiency of modern, high-performing farm animals. We are especially interested in by-products originating from Finnish nature.

By-products of other industries – to raw materials for natural feed innovations

Progres®, which contains coniferous resin acids and fatty acids of coniferous trees, is the only feed material based on tall oil fatty acids, TOFA. During the cellulose process of paper industry, fatty acids and resin acids of coniferous trees are separated first into black liquor and then into crude tall oil. Hankkija FFI’s partner in the production of Progres® is Forchem Ltd, a tall oil refinery in Rauma, which has been awarded for its efforts in Cleantech. The stringent quality control of Forchem Ltd guarantees that each batch of Progres® is of top quality and void of any impurities of crude tall oil.

Progut® is produced from Saccharomyces cerevisiae yeast after it has been used in a brewery or ethanol plant. This recycled material goes through an optimized acid hydrolysis, which breaks open the molecular structures in the yeast cell wall. These active sites are responsible for the pathogen binding and positive immunomodulation demonstrated for Progut®. Using the spent yeast from brewery or ethanol industry, in combination with the hydrolysis, leads to a state-of the-art quality product with a much lower environmental impact than if the yeast was cultured only for animal feeding.

And for sure, the R&D work has not ceased. Hankkija FFI continues to develop new feed innovations according to the principles of circular economy. With our trusted partners of industrial companies and research institutes, we are running several research projects with the aim of producing new feed materials and additives for improved gastrointestinal functions of farm animals in the coming years.