The eco-innovation landscape in Finland has been remaining quite stable over the last years. Importantly, Finland is still ranked as one of the most innovative countries in the world. Finnish eco-innovation continues to benefit from a well-developed innovation system, open economy, and close collaboration between industry, academia and national research organisations.

Energy efficiency and circular economy have been established as key high-level policy priorities, and related national and regional initiatives are manifold. Both start-ups and established companies generate technologies, products and services in several sectors relevant to eco-innovations and the circular economy. Applications range from a mobile app designed to rescue leftover food from restaurants to pioneering energy management solutions and transformative products based on material recycling.

One of the most important policy developments is the inclusion of circular economy as a priority in the Strategic Programme of the Finnish Government from 2016 onwards. The Finnish Ministry of Employment and the Economy also published the Strategy to Promote Cleantech Business in Finland in 2014, which continues to guide policymaking and business initiatives. Other important strategies and programmes relevant to eco-innovations and the circular economy include the Finnish Bioeconomy Strategy (2014), the Finnish Material Efficiency Programme (2014), and the new Circular Economy focus area (2016) in Sitra, the Finnish Innovation Fund.

The main challenges for eco-innovation in the country are associated with the weak national economy and decreasing public and private research and development  (R&D) spending .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Finland




ISmart Codon Permutator Technology/ Industrial enzymes

Metgen Ltd has applied laccase enzyme for cleantech applications by developing enzymes for biomass treatment. The enzymes are used for energy savings in the pulp and paper industry and biomass treatment for extracting chemical from cellulosic biomass.

MetGen Ltd was established in 2008 and its head office is in Turku, whereas the company operates in Europe and the USA. In addition to the industiral enzymes, the company is also an active operator in the development and production of biopharmaceuticals. MetGen's  biocatalytical procesess make the production processes faster, cleaner and less expensive.

Laccase enzymes occur naturally in fungi and they are able to decompose various organic compounds including lignin (chemical binding the cells of wood plants). The enzymes belong to the multinuclear copper-containing oxidases and their uses span from the textile to pulp and paper industry and from wood applications to bioremediation.

Practically, MetGen's Smart Codon Permutator technology carefully selects the gene sites to be mutated and synthesis representative oligo libraries. The proprietary technology offers a remarkable advantage over existing technologies in terms of selectivity, productivity and the final cost of the desired industrial enzymes. The enzymes are used for energy savings in the pulp and paper industry and biomass treatment for extracting chemical from cellulosic biomass.

Barriers and Drivers
Drivers:  The enzymes improve the fiber strength and de-ink used paper mass and produces improved yield of bioethanol from cellulosic waste for the biofuel industry. MetGen also designs enzymes to fit customer conditions and their enzymes are effectively priced and easy to produce. The company has already managed to network with industrial customers and create a market for their solutions.
Barriers: The method does not work in high temperatures (over 80 celsius) or pHs. In addition, MetGen is not a one-stop solution provider and large-scale production would require outsourcing.

Economic Performance
Manufacturing costs can be reduced as much as 70%, and thus can solve the critical issue of energy efficiency issues related to industrial processes using laccases. Furthermore, MetGen's industrial enzymes can be utilised in several different industries.

Environmental Impact
Remarkable savings in energy use in pulp and paper industry. However, the methods also generate  cleaner production process. In addition, the oxidoreductases are environmentally friendly and the only byproducts of the process is water. 

Further Information

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