The winner of the Metsä360 prize is eniferBio, a Finnish biotechnology startup that grows the mycelium of the PEKILO® fungus in its bioreactors. When filtered and dried, the mycelium turns into a very protein-rich dried powder. The process can utilise by-products from the forest, biofuel and food industries.
The winner was chosen by President of Sitra and a member of the LUT University Advisory Board Jyrki Katainen, Managing Director of the Finnish Business Angels Network Amel Gaily and Director of Helen Oy Sari Mannonen (Solutions Business & Portfolio development). The winner was announced on 3 November on the LUT University campus in Lahti during the opening celebration of a new fibre technology laboratory.
Winning solution replaces animal proteins with circular economy
According to the panel, the innovation by eniferBio represents the circular economy and sector integration at its finest: it uses industrial residue flows in a diverse way and can be integrated into nearly all new biorefinery concepts. The panel also appreciated the fact that the winner engages in extensive cooperation to replace animal proteins in several product groups.
The PEKILO® production method was being developed in Finland already in the 1970s, and eniferBio has carried on this work.
“eniferBio is a good example of how even older innovations can become significant solutions as our worldview changes and we are able to examine targets of application from new perspectives”, comments member of the expert group, representative of the Kolli Foundation Esko Kolli.
The Metsä360 Award highlights actions aimed at increasing the added value of forests. Awarded for the third time this year, previous years’ winners are Stora Enso’s bio-based carbon and the Sleep Outdoors Night (Nuku Yö Ulkona) campaign by Suomen Latu.
“The Metsä360 Award offers an opportunity to highlight new solutions in the forest industry, which I believe will also make the sector more appealing. It is an honour to be a part of granting this award, which is enabled by the Kolli Foundation”, says Mari Kallioinen-Mänttäri, Dean of LUT University.