New research partnership to explore industrial wood preservation

The Innovative Cities (INKA)research programme of the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, Tekes, has granted 450,000 euros of funding to the Nanotech-driven bio-preservation of wood (SafeWood) project carried out in cooperation between the University of Eastern Finland, the University of Oulu and the Natural Resources Institute.

Wood products can be treated against moisture, rot and UV-radiation by using different chemicals. Many of the most effective chemical agents, such as metallic salts and other toxic compounds, are potentially harmful to wood-handling humans, as well as to animals and the surrounding environment. In addition, the working, surface coating and joining of treated wood may require professional craftsmanship, depending on the chemical agents used. At the end of their lifecycle, many chemically preserved wood grades end up as hazardous waste. Therefore, the use of preserved wood is being governed by chemical legislation and other limitations to its use and disposal.

The SafeWood research project investigates the utilisation of the tree’s own protective mechanisms in industrial wood preservation. The biomimicry approach focuses on combining specific softwood bark components and pyrolysis oil fractions together with modified nanocellulose particles as preserving agents. Ultimately, the project aims to develop durable bio-preserved wood products for outdoor uses that would be as safe to use as untreated wood.

The research project is co-funded by five Finnish forestry and chemical industry companies  already active in chemicals manufacturing, wood products engineering and refining of preserved wood. Through collaboration,  the SafeWood project aims to investigate the potential of novel separation processes and nanotechnologies in the development of green preserved wood products.

 

Source: Natural Resources Institute Finland