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Gabriel Sousa, diretor de Inovação e Desenvolvimento Tecnológico da Altri

Technological partnerships and sharing information

One of the jobs of the Innovation and Technological Development Department is to act as liaison on the topics of innovation.

It is crucial to promote ideas, processes and open research to third parties, for the purpose of improving the development of new products, within the logic of open innovation. This is also the purpose of the Innovation and Technological Development Department (DIDT). 

The desire to be proactive and to add more value and knowledge to the organisation has led the DIDT to establish partnership agreements with other institutions, beyond those already existing. Universities of Aveiro, Coimbra and Beira Interior, among others, are reference national partners. 

The protocol with the University of Coimbra, specifically in the field of Polymers, it’s of special interest. Gabriel Sousa, the director of the DIDT, explains “We believe this area has potential in the medium and long term, since we are predicting that cellulose will be the natural substitute for fossil-based polymers”. 

Technology centres in the field of nanomaterials and textiles had not fallen under Altri’s gaze until the DIDT got down to work. This area is of special interest to Caima, considering that its end product is used by these industries. 

Partnerships have been formed with CeNTI (Centre of Nanotechnology and Technical Materials), and with CITEVE (Textile and Clothing Industries Technology Centre), both located in Vila Nova de Famalicão, in north of Portugal. 

This is because while Celbi and Celtejo produce pulp for the paper industry, Caima’s pulp is directed mostly to the textile industry for viscose application. 

“We feel that there is immense potential there to be developed.” They tried to bring together two industries which were completely separated: the textile industry on one hand, and the pulp and paper industry on the other. 

Somewhere in between these two realities there is a world of knowledge, that none of the industries have so far. 

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Since we don’t want to bridge this gap by ourselves, we decided to join forces with these reference entities. We are developing a joint project to produce knowledge which to date does not exist in Portugal. We have the pulp know-how and they have the textile know-how.

Sharing knowledge and the extension of the lines of Altri’s operation are not limited to the above partnerships. The DIDT’s strategy also involves establishing partnerships with international institutions. 

It is important to appear on the radar of innovation and to be aware of what is being developed abroad in areas of business and industries which use the end-product produced by Altri, or in adjacent areas of interest. 

A good example of this is the project under development by a European consortium which includes a Finnish pulp company, Metsä Fibre, that aims at developing a novel technology for producing cellulose-based textile fibres.