The construction of the new factory started in the fall of 2021 and first test runs were made the following fall. Now at the beginning of 2023, production has started, and the products manufactured in the facility can also be used in the professional substrates of Novarbo's customers.
- Everything has gone as expected, and we didn't suffer much from the global component shortage or delays in the deliveries, sums up Biolan Group CEO Teppo Rantanen.
The Biofiber Factory's process was developed by Biolan Group and suitable machinery and manufacturing methods have been developed together with equipment manufacturers. For example, side streams from forest industry and rapidly renewable bog biomass are utilized as raw materials in the production facility. The rapidly renewable bog biomass, i.e., acrotelm is the actively growing surface layer of the bog containing sphagnum mosses, grasses, subshrubs and other surface vegetation. Its thickness can vary from 10 to a few tens of centimeters. Acrotelm is capable to regenerate in 10-20 years after harvest.
With the Biofiber Factory, Biolan Group will get new raw materials alongside peat, both for growing media intended for professional cultivation and for hobbyists, as well as for animal bedding.
- Biolan Group is a growing medium manufacturer that offers sustainably produced solutions for cultivation. We understand that the world has changed and with that the raw materials used in production must also change, says Rantanen.
The new Biofiber Factory offers a genuine, carefully researched and practically tested alternative for both the production of growing medium products and for bedding materials. New end products are a result of long research and development work.
- We have extensively tested their functionality for various uses, and we can state that we have succeeded in finding a high-quality, environmentally sustainable recipe with excellent properties for both professional cultivation and hobbyists' growing medium products, says Hannamaija Fontell, Biolan's Director of Product Development.
Novarbo has already used sphagnum moss in their substrates for a few years because of its good properties. Biofiber Factory enables the addition of wood fiber into the professional products and the first wood fiber containing substrates will be manufactured this spring.
The new substrate materials are included in a project of Finnish Glasshouse Growers’ Association and Natural Resources Institute Finland where professional growers test them with several different crops.
The Biofiber Factory is the largest investment in Biolan Group's history, worth more than seven million euros. It has received support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry's Nutrient Recycling Experiment Program managed by the ELY Centre of South Ostrobothnia.