ESA title

Pulp & Paper Kick-start

The pulp and paper industry is a sector which could benefit from the application of space-based data and technology. ESA-BA are currently running a kick-start opportunity for businesses looking to add value to the industry through applied space technology. Find out more about the opportunity and topics of relevance below.


Pulp extracted from wood, fibre crops or waste paper is one of the most abundant raw materials worldwide. A host of different products use or are made of pulp like cardboard, tissues, even textile, diapers and of course paper. The European pulp and paper industry supplies 23% of the global market. Pulp and paper producers are part of the much larger forest-based industry sector, which overall represents about 7% of EU manufacturing GDP.

The pulp and paper sector is one of the most environmentally sensitive sectors due to its heavy dependence on water, its use of energy, and the vitality of forest ecosystems as a source of wood fibre. However the industry is open to innovations and is advanced in resource efficiency and the use of space technologies can support the sector in this process. 

WEBINAR ON AUGUST 16th 11:00 – 12:00 (CET)

 This webinar has already taken place. Please see the webinar presentation slides at the bottom of this page.


The Kick-start Activity proposed must demonstrate the application of space-based data and technology:

  • Earth Observation: Monitoring tree and forest conditions, detection and assessment of; unexpected impacts on forests, air and water pollution.

  • Satellite Navigation: Positioning and guidance to support trace, tracking and improved logistics, route optimization, and geo-tagging of in-situ data.

  • Satellite Communication: Provides connectivity for any data services whenever the terrestrial communications are absent or not reliable.

  • RPAS: Used as complementary solution for monitoring purposes in addition to Earth Observation images and in-situ sensors.

  • Internet of Things (IoT)/ Machine-to-Machine Communication (M2M): Networks of sensors monitor equipment and condition-based maintenance operations. M2M is a robust technology for remote monitoring (i.e. telemetry) of different mobile assets and for connecting them.


Targeted topics benefiting from space-based technology include for example:

  • Improved Pulp Logistics:  supporting value chain of pulp products starting from sourcing raw material, i.e. collection of low quality timber from post climatic events, waste paper, or alternatives to wood such as straw or grass

  • Cleaner Pulp Production: Supporting measurement and monitoring of air (e.g. the target of CEPI (Confederation of European Paper Industries) is an 80% CO2 emission reduction pathway in 2050) and water quality.

  • Support Paper Forest Management: Trees raised for pulp production (plantations) and regular tree maintenance (in European municipal woods for example) provide a significant percentage of pulp mills inputs. Adequate monitoring of plantations and woods can lead to significant improvements of forest managers’ activities, such as accurate inventory of timber before harvest, detection of growth issues and theft, and ability to obtain valuable certification (from FSC or PEFC).


We offer funding and support to companies for business case assessment, as well as the development of new space enabled products and services focussed on the Pulp and Paper's economic and environmental development.

  • Zero-equity funding up to €60K per activity

  • A personalised ESA consultant

  • Technical & commercial guidance

  • Access to our network of partners

  • Credibility of the ESA brand


Kick-start Activities elaborate the business opportunity and the technical viability of new applications and services exploiting one or more space assets (e.g. Satellite Communications, Satellite Navigation, Earth Observation, Human Space Flight Technology). This call for Kick-start Activities is dedicated to the theme "Pulp & Paper", which means that the call is open to companies which intend to develop new applications to support pulp and paper industry and associated activities.


Currently Austria and Norway have pre-authorised funding for this Kick-start theme (watch this website also for further updates). 

In case you intend to submit a proposal for this Kick-start theme and your company/organisation resides in another of our participating Member States (see below), you need to contact your National Delegation.


  • Register by completing the online questionnaire on ESA-STAR Registration (minimum 'light registration').
  • Download Invitation to Tender incl. Clarification No. 29 documents on EMITS ‘AO 8872 and create 'Bidder Restricted Area' from 20th Sep 2018. 
  • Complete your proposal and obtain a Letter of Authorisation from National Delegation, if required (see above).
  • Submit your proposal via ESA-STAR Tendering by 1 October 2018 13:00 CET.