According to the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy, the Government’s objective is to increase Finland’s bioeconomy output to €100 billion from its current level of €60 billion, and create 100,000 new bioeconomy jobs by 2025. Bioeconomy is also an important driver in the EU’s growth strategy. The EU adopted its bioeconomy strategy in 2012, and it is linked to Horizon 2020, the new EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

The most efficient value networks for bioeconomy are broad-based and multidisciplinary entities that break traditional boundaries. The Finnish Innovation Fund (Sitra) also emphasize that to create functioning bioeconomy solutions, different forms of earning logic must be fitted together and the local value chains must be integrated.


The development and use of transport biofuels is relatively recent in Finland, although bioenergy research in general has a long tradition. The Finnish fuel companies have been able to grasp the opportunity created by environmental policies with innovative technologies because of stable R&D support in the bioenergy area, and because the products fit the existing socio-technical system as such1. Currently, the use of wood-based transport fuel is increasing rapidly in Finland. Green Growth programme is supporting innovative Finnish companies in this area in order to move towards more sustainable fuels for transportation utilising bio-based materials.

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

Valmet’s new technology produces biofuel material in an energy-efficient way

Valmet’s idea is to develop sustainable transportation fuels by means of new second generation pyrolysis technologies. Integrating this new technology with combined power and heat generation enables a more energy-efficient production method. The aim is to replace fossil transportation fuels and increase the availability and popularity of biofuel materials.

“Tekes funding has enabled project implementation on the intended scale and has significantly accelerated development and commercialisation of the new technology.”

Matti Rautanen
Manager, External Networks, Research & Development
Pulp and Energy Business Line
Valmet Power Oy

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Valmet’s Green Growth project (in collaboration with Fortum and UPM): Advanced high value lignocellulosic fuels

St1 – Research for commercial lignocellulosic ethanol

The focus of the project is in the research of the unit processes of ethanol production of lignocellulosic feedstocks. The joint project with VTT will focus on basic research and the search of new ways to develop the ethanol production process that utilizes wood-based raw materials. The project examines the ethanol production process and associated thermochemical and biochemical issues.

More information

Results and impact: Neste Oil develops renewables into business worth billions

1 Tekes Review 282/2011: Towards green growth? The position of Finland in environmental technology. Available at


Finland is a pioneer in bioenergy production. Although wood is our most important raw material in terms of energy production, in the future, energy fractions in the side streams from agriculture and the food industry will be more efficiently utilized in energy production. Green Growth programme has many significant projects on-going in this area.

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

Valio Ltd. – protein out of grass

Valio’s idea is to develop protein feed for Finnish milk producers out of silage produced on their own fields. The innovation offers dairy farms stability in the price and availability of protein feed and the better utilisation of their own fields. The environment also benefits from the removal of phosphorus from the fields.

“The project combined the silage skills of Agrifood Research Finland and the fermentation knowledge of Aalto University, and VTT’s skills in hydrolysis of cellulose. Without the Tekes Green Growth programme, no such cooperation would have been possible.”

Matti Harju
Valio Ltd

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Valio’s Green Growth project: Protein from grass

Raisio’s nutrition-rich feed improves milk yield

Raisio’s idea is to develop a feed that improves the milk output of dairy cows and raises the fat and protein content of the milk. Raisio’s biggest customers are in Finland, but the goal is to licence the Benemilk innovation for players of the milk chain on a global scale. Raisio also aims at new innovations and business activities in different areas of the food chain.

“With the help of Tekes we have managed to put extensive effort into the further development of our innovations and into scientific research at home and abroad.”

Ilmo Aronen
R&D Director, Raisioagro Ltd


Innovative small and medium sized companies play an important role in the move to a sustainable bioeconomy. SMEs are often research intensive and have long lead times between early technological development and market introduction. In the area of bioeconomy, Green Growth programme is supporting innovative SMEs to accelerate their growth to international markets

Examples of Green Growth enterprise projects

Inray is measuring the quality of biofuels in real-time

Inray is developing solid biofuels online measurement system, which can be used in fuel pricing and power plant process control. Once completed, the system is able to measure the quality of the fuel, such as moisture and contaminant content, real-time and reliably. The aim is to provide the company a significant new export-oriented business area.

Spectral Engines is developing a sensor platform for bioenergy production quality management

Spectral Engines aims to develop a new sensor platform for bioenergy production quality management. The sensor technology developed in the project enables the use of new, cheaper tailor-made sensors in process conditions in order to help end customers to optimize the production efficiency of their own processes.

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Spectral Engines’ Green Growth project: MEMS-BIOPRO

Jarmat’s biodegradable saw chain lubricant

Jarmat is developing a fully environmentally friendly and biodegradable saw chain lubricant with no mineral or vegetable oil. The biodegradable lubricant and its fixed assets reduce the consumption of lubricant, improve the durability of the lubricated devices, saving money and the environment.

“Tekes funding has allowed for an extensive product development project. Support from the networks of the Green Growth programme and the view of the development of our product and our company have been valuable.”

Kari Heinonen
CEO, Jarmat Oy

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Results and impact (in Finnish): Jarmat: Ekologinen vaihtoehto voiteluöljylle


One of the strategic goals of the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy is to achieve a strong bioeconomy competence base by developing education, training and research. Actions outlined in the strategy call for creating preconditions for bioeconomy by utilizing and applying new knowledge and expertise fast and efficiently.

Towards a bioeconomy transition

In March 2013, Tekes launched an initiative within the Green Growth programme with the aim to support bioeconomy development in Finland. A call was launched to identify promising and potential system-level innovations in this area which requires new types of value networks and business models on a global scale. The aim was also to identify possibilities, and develop a plan, for a joint Finnish-Dutch foresight exercise to inform bioeconomy-related policies for the future. Synergies exist between the countries in the area of biomass processing (Finland) and industrial ecology (Netherlands).

Examples of Green Growth research projects

Sustainable nutrient economy in Finland

Transition towards sustainable nutrient economy (NUTS) project is aiming to create a basis for a systematic transition process towards sustainable nutrient economy in Finland, including ecological, economic, social and technological views. The project will identify the obstacles, due to structures, attitudes or the economy, for the development of sustainable nutrient economy, and makes scenarios for the future sufficiency of food and diets.

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Project’s website:


Tekes launched new funding instrument in 2014 for piloting and demonstration activities. Tekes’ low-interest loan that is granted without collateral enables companies to notably speed up their development work and enter target markets.

Bioeconomy cannot grow in a confined test tube

Pilot tests, testbeds, test plants, showcases, demonstrations. All of these terms refer to the same thing: one of the most challenging stages of product development, i.e. transferring the developed method from lab conditions to industrial production. This is not merely busy work – functionality proven on a sufficiently large scale is often the determining factor in commercial success.

Read more from Tekes’ Bioeconomy Programme Manager Heikki Aro’s blog post.

Bioeconomy pilots – European Benchmarking

In the beginning of 2014, Green Growth programme implemented a study of European actors that provide pilot-level services to the needs of the bioeconomy. The study included 10 European countries, and aimed to answer the following questions:

  • What are the pilot services that Tekes has recognized in the study covering 10 European countries?
  • How different European countries have succeeded in combining public funding to the development of pilot environments?
  • How Tekes can support the development of Finnish pilot environments?

The results of the study (in Finnish) can be found here.

Creating sustainable

Economic growth requires the sustainable management of natural resources. Bioeconomy plays a key role in achieving a low-carbon and a resource-efficient society. Bioeconomy refers to an economy that is based on a sustainable use of renewable biological resources to produce food, energy, products and services.

The United Nations has estimated that by 2030 the world will need 50% more food, 45% more energy and 30% more water. The growing demand will result in a scarcity of natural resources and increase prices. Efficient and sustainable use of these resources will become a competitive advantage.

New business from the bioeconomy
New business can be generated by exploiting the opportunities offered by the food industry and biomasses from the forests and fields.
Finland is a pioneer in developing technologies to produce renewable and sustainable transportation fuels from bio-based raw materials.
Innovative small and medium sized companies have a significant role in creating new products and services in the bioeconomy.

Bioeconomy innovations require world-class expertise, research and development activities. Competitive and sustainable bioeconomy solutions aimed for global markets cannot be produced without a multidisciplinary approach, involving both public and private actors from different industries working together.

The growth of the bioeconomy market is just beginning. Finland has positioned itself favorably to grasp the opportunity by engaging in long-term efforts to develop its competence base. However, new bioeconomy solutions must be piloted and demonstrated before moving into industrial production. Functionality proven on a sufficiently large scale is often the determining factor in commercial success.
Pilot environments intended for the commercialization of bioeconomy innovations require broad-based and multidisciplinary entities that break through traditional boundaries and participate in genuine cooperation between industry and small and medium-sized companies to produce user-oriented services.