Renewable Functional Fillers - A Truly Sustainable Product

Why RFFs help maximes the renewable content of rubber-products and plastics

The Impact of RFF

CO2 footprint

UPM RFFs have a 90% lower carbon footprint than standard furnace carbon black. Mid-term target to go CO₂-negative.

Renewable

94% renewable carbon (certified bio-based content by DIN CERTICO).

Low density

Material density is 1.3 g/cm2 and hence at least 25% lighter when compared to conventional filler systems used by the rubber industry.

Purity

Are free of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH); very low sulfur-content and low deficient levels of VOGs (VDA 278).

Why we need a sustainable alternative for rubber products and plastics alike

Climate change and the growing scarcity of natural resources are key challenges of our time. In a perfect circular economy, waste is minimized, and renewable resources are used in a sustainable, efficient way to produce recyclable, reusable products.

  • Sustainably grown and certified wood provides the renewable raw material for many climate-positive products.
  • Trees absorb atmospheric carbon dioxide as they grow, transform carbon into biomass, and release oxygen into the atmosphere.
  • Sustainable forest management ensures that forests' function as carbon sinks is preserved byproviding a healthy balance of harvested wood and additional growth.

End-Of-Life Sustainability

The sustainability of RFF is created in the value chain: the use of sustainably produced renewable carbon instead of fossil carbon. The carbon bound in wood is further stored in products made from RFF, especially in applications with long service life, such as rubber and durable plastics. CO₂ is stored in durable materials for a long time, beneficial for the climate. Recycling and reuse of rubber and plastics further extend the period during which the atmospheric carbon is stored. RFF based products are ready to be used in existing recycling approaches with the added benefit of being free of Policyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). But also at the end of life of any product containing RFF, the positive climate effect of RFF is ensured as the CO₂ emitted during the energetic use of RFF is originating in a renewable resource. Therefore, no additional CO₂ is released into the atmosphere.

How UPM BioMotion™ RFFs help to make a change

UPM BioMotion™ RFFs are produced from sustainably grown wood. They replace fossil-based and highly CO₂-intensive carbon black and silica. In addition, UPM BiomotionTM RFFs are designed to maximise the renewable content of rubber products and plastics alike while reducing carbon footprint drastically as they extend the positive climate effect of the trees into the products. In addition to the positive climate effect of the products, the manufacturing process of the RFF in the world's largest, highly integrated, wood-based biorefinery in Leuna, Germany, is designed for optimal energy and resource efficiency, and low CO₂ emissions.

Sustainably produced renewable carbon instead of fossil carbon

Most importantly, the sustainability of RFF is created in the value chain: the use of sustainably produced renewable carbon instead of fossil carbon. The carbon bound in wood is further stored in products made from RFF, especially in applications with a long service life, such as rubber and durable plastics. CO₂ is stored in durable materials for a long time, beneficial for the climate.

UPM champions sustainable forest management activities. Sustainable forest management is a form of forestry stewardship that balances long-term sustainability goals with sound economic principles. It is a practice that combines the industrial use of wood with maintaining and even extending the positive environmental impact of forests on climate, biodiversity and society for generations to come. It is how UPM is moving sustainably toward a more prosperous future, in which forest resources are turned into renewable wood products.

100% of the wood used to produce our UPM BioMotion™ Renewable Functional Fillers (RFF) comes from certified sources. Certification programs ensure that forest owners are in compliance with the principles of sustainable forest management. Good forest management involves always knowing the wood's sources and nurturing forest growth and renewal. UPM and its partners combat deforestation by growing more forest than we harvest. We aim to increase the long-term health of woodlands by enhancing biodiversity and the vital ecosystem attributes of the forest.

We ensure this, for instance, by adhering to and promoting recognized forest certification schemes such as FSC® and PEFC™. The feedstock used in UPM's biochemical refinery in Leuna will come exclusively from managed forests with either FSC® or PEFC™ sustainability certifications.

Sustainable wood sourcing at the Leuna biorefinery

100% of the wood used to produce UPM BioMotion™ in the UPM Biorefinery in Leuna, Germany, is either FSC®- or PEFC™ certified and taken from forests where biodiversity and natural ecosystems are preserved. All our wood is fully traceable, controlled, and covered by a verified third-party chain of custody.

The feedstock for the Leuna facility is hardwood, mainly beechwood. We will utilize wood taken from so-called thinnings, industrial beechwood, sawmill side streams, and other residues from the regional forest sector.

Beech trees are native to Germany, and their share in German national forests is increasing. Beech is a species of wood considered central to the country's long-term strategy to become more resilient to climate change. In transforming todays' spruce-dominated forests, not only are essential timber products made available but carbon storage is also increased, helping to meet the urgent environmental challenges of climate change.

At the same time, the options for the industrial use of beechwood remain limited. Today, more than 60% of the beechwood harvested is used for thermal energy generation – the least climate effective use of wood. In developing different uses for beechwood, UPM supports the growing stock of native beech trees in national forests, which will boost local forest value chains in the region around Leuna. Expanding the industrial use of hardwood, in general, is central to the goals of climate-adaptive forest management and helps improve the biodiversity of forests overall.