Dieffenbacher participates in EU research project on fibreboard recycling

EcoReFibre kickoff meeting in Uppsala, Sweden (Image: Dieffenbacher)

Dieffenbacher and 19 organisations from seven countries have joined forces in the EcoReFibre research project to make the production of wood fibreboards such as medium-density and high-density fibreboards (MDF and HDF) more sustainable.

EcoReFibre stands for “Ecological solutions for recovery of secondary materials from post-consumer fibreboards”. Its aim is to recycle wood fibres at the end of their lifecycle and use them to produce new fibreboard. Currently, fresh wood is used almost exclusively to produce wood fibreboard.

The four-year project, which kicked off earlier in May, has €12 million in funding from the EU through its research and innovation funding programme Horizon Europe.

The project partners, which include wood-based panel manufacturers Homanit and Sonae Arauco, and furniture manufacturer Biesse, intend to develop and test solutions that will enable up to 25% of the fresh wood fibres used to manufacture wood fibreboards to be replaced by recycled secondary fibres.

Five pilot projects will also explore how recycled wood fibres can be used to manufacture new end products such as insulation materials and bio-composites.

“More than 100 million cubic metres of wood fibreboard are produced worldwide every year — almost exclusively from fresh wood. The industry urgently needs a sustainable recycling solution here,” explained Matthias Graf, who leads the project at Dieffenbacher.

“With the innovative technologies and business models that we will develop as part of the EcoReFibre project, we will take the circular economy in the MDF and HDF industry a big step forward.”

Dieffenbacher is committed to sustainability and preserving fresh wood resources in Europe, with equipment specialised in using waste wood as a raw material in the production of particleboard.

The company’s recycling business unit has reportedly supplied various waste wood cleaning and wood recycling plants to particleboard manufacturers such as Unilin, Pfleiderer, Rheinspan and Fundermax.

EcoReFibre was launched in May with a meeting at the consortium leader, the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences in Uppsala, Sweden. According to Dieffenbacher, the project will end in April 2026.