10 Questions: Ali Harlin

Ali Harlin

Professor at VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, specialising in research on biomass-based materials


  1. How early do you wake up on weekdays and what is the first thing you do?

I wake up at six thirty and eat porridge to get the day started.

  1. Which media and/or social media do you follow in the morning?

I follow Facebook and LinkedIn.

  1. What are the most challenging and the best aspects of your job?

The best and the most challenging aspect is working with several teams.

  1. Why is it important to develop bioeconomy innovations?

Bioeconomy is the foundation of the Finnish national economy, and going bio makes our planet a more sustainable place.

  1. How long will it take before textile fibres made from cellulose reach mass production?

For new products, it will take around five years. The traditional textiles, such as viscose and lyocel, are produced all the time.

  1. What, in your opinion, are the best Finnish bioeconomy innovations?

Up until now, energy integration and new packaging products. In the food sector, there are many innovations alongside oats, such as Benecol and xylitol.

  1. Cellulose has been developed and utilised fairly extensively in the bioeconomy. What could be the next raw material to offer development areas from the bioeconomy perspective?

Recycling streams play a central role in the bioeconomy. Fast-growing crops in particular are currently the focus of global attention.

  1. What or who inspires you?

I’m inspired by the fact that a new meaning can be found for a material.

  1. Where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?

Hopefully commercialising yet more innovations.

  1. How do you relax?

By playing music and working out at the gym.

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