Koehler Paper Group and Technische Universität Darmstadt have formed a research partnership aimed at developing functional surfaces from sustainable raw materials.
The Green Coating Collaboration, to launch in January 2019, has the objective to replace plastic with sustainable paper options wherever possible and practical.
Within the framework of this collaboration, both Koehler employees, and employees and students from TU Darmstadt will carry out joint research at the university to develop functional surfaces that are recyclable and/or biodegradable, which will allow the paper coated with these materials to be fed into the paper recycling process, the challenges of which, unlike many other materials cycles, have already been solved.
According to Dr Markus Biesalski, who is heading up the project on behalf of TU Darmstadt, both sides are striving for a long-term collaboration and hope to expand the work between TU Darmstadt and Koehler into a permanent strategic partnership after an initial two-year phase, depending on how the project progresses.
He said: ‘Koehler has an extremely well-positioned development department for a medium-sized company and brings a great deal of expertise to the table, which we will certainly benefit from.’
Koehler has already laid the foundation with an investment of over 300 million EUR at its Kehl mill, where the company plans to produce paper-based options with special barrier properties.
Dr Markus Wildberger, corporate director of technology at Koehler, said: ‘We are leveraging infrastructure synergies, the core competencies, and the expertise of TU Darmstadt and Koehler in the best possible way for this innovative project. The institute for Macromolecular and Paper Chemistry at TU Darmstadt is a world-class research partner, and we are looking forward to working together.’
In addition to Wildberger, Dr Stefan Karrer and Dr Michael Horn are both part of the team at Koehler responsible for the Green Coating Collaboration.
Koehler Paper Group is a manufacturer of specialty papers, but which also works in the field of papers for flexible packaging with its new PM8 paper machine. Its aim is to replace nonrecyclable plastics with paper and recyclable or compostable composites.