Betulin from birch bark: A moisture barrier for modern packaging – step 1

The project ran between November 2020 and March 2021.

Coatings that provide paper and cardboard protective functions today consist of synthetic polymers. The quantities are significant, consumption in Sweden can be estimated at well over 200 ktonnes annually. The project intended to contribute to the circular bioeconomy by creating conditions for an increased global demand for environmentally friendly barrier materials of birch bark, a by-product from the paper and pulp industry. Using domestic renewable raw materials to make green barriers to give paper and cardboard water-repellent properties is a key step in creating circular material flows within the packaging area.

The goal of the project was to create a new value chain for birch bark, a by-product from the forest industry, trough collaboration between academia and industry. By valorizing the betulin, a major component of birch bark, to a more polar high-value compound, we will enable the generation of renewable, terpene-based dispersion barriers.


Holmen AB and KTH.


The project’s total budget was 1,4 MSEK.