Man sitting on a bench in the forrest

Martin Kihlman

"I am both happy and proud to be a part of the transition that is now taking place in the industry"

The decision was taken - Martin Kihlmans’ goal was to work and do research in the pharmaceutical industry, which led him to start studying chemistry. During his studies, he met Lars Stigsson (entrepreneur, chemist and founder of SunPine, Sweden) who introduced to him all the possibilities of the forest. Inspired by the meeting, Kihlman decided to change direction. Today, he is active in the process industry and involved in development projects that all aims for more "green products" of customers with globally strong brands and a strong focus on sustainability.

The global goals for sustainable development are today on the agenda of all the companies that realize what it takes to have a role in the market in the future. That requires experts like Martin Kihlman. Kihlman has always been interested in chemistry and developing and improving processes further. The development that is taking place today in the process industry towards renewable and sustainable alternatives is extremely exciting and inspiring. Today, he really knows that what he does matters and that drives him in his work.

Man standing in front of a tree in the forrest
Martin Kihlman. (Photographer: Piotr Mirowski , AFRY)

What made you rethink?

“Lars involved me in a project that aimed to extract more from the forest. I was inspired by his work, ideas and all the possibilities we have with the forest ", says Martin, well aware that the market demands need more sustainable solutions.

The climate speaks for itself and Kihlman wants to be involved and influence, which is possible in his role as process engineer at AFRY. Clean and environmentally friendly technologies and industrial processes are all important ways to facilitate sustainable development.

“What makes the role as a process engineer so interesting is the opportunity to design completely new processes from the scratch - or to develop and improve existing processes for our customers. In the role as a process engineer, there is an real opportunity to be involved and contribute towards more sustainable solutions. The biorefinery sector is really exciting, as today the great development towards more renewable products not only benefits the environment but also creates added value for our customers”, says Kihlman.

Sustainable industry

AFRY often has the privilege to be involved in many large investment projects aiming to develop new processes for more sustainable production for various industries. As the earth's resouces consumed, the climate changes and our health is affected – it forces the industry to change into fossil free solutions. This requires a combination of specialist knowledge and the development of the new technology.

“I am driven by the challenge of being able to influence in a larger perspective. Developing new methods to our customers together with team members with different skills is extremely inspiring, ” says Kihlman and says that he is very fascinated of organic industry.  

Organic chemistry

Kihlmans interest in organic chemistry is easy to understand if you know that carbon is the prerequisite for life, that all living organisms contain carbon. Without the properties of carbon, there would probably not have been life on earth because no other element can replace carbon.

Without going too deep into the chemistry of carbon, almost all products that we humans use today contain carbon. We are talking about natural woods, clothes and paper but also artificial materials such as plastic. Many of the fuels today contain coal - both as an energy source to heat our houses or to refuel our cars. One of today's major environmental problems is the carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere - and the increasing carbon dioxide content is caused, among other things, by the combustion of fuels that contain carbon.

This is where you see the value of specialist knowledge like Martins, with the insight and drive required to succeed in changing and developing new methods. With commitment and willingness to find solutions to transform today's fossil based materials into more sustainable materials that do not endanger our environment and our health as it does today.

Be brave

Working with issues like that kind also means a lot of courage, says Kihlman:

“Many of the projects I work with today require that you both dare and have the will to take on things that you may not have been considered / done with before. In turn that means that you are constantly evolving, and for me it is an important factor for well-being", says Kihlman and continues:

“As a person, I am both structured and problem-solving-oriented, these are qualities I see as valuable in the work as a process engineer because you are constantly faced with new challenges.”

Kihlman really thrives in his role, all the challenges and the opportunities the forest brings for future industries.:

“Apart from a place that many people enjoy, which also has a good effect on our general well-being, the forest is so much more than traditional paper and pulp. If we manage to take care of the raw material from the forest with sustainable solutions, we can really make a difference to our environment. I am both happy and proud to be a part of the change that is now happening within the industry”, Kihlman concludes.


Welcome and read more about AFRYs' offer within biorefining here