Dutch timber company Foreco has joined the Horizon 2020 project Bio4Products to develop a breakthrough wood modification product, using waste wood in a 100% circular process.
New wood preservatives are in high demand as companies look for sustainable alternatives to creosote, a toxic chemical known for its use on wooden railway sleepers, electricity poles and in fencing.
The EU banned the sale of creosote to citizens in 2003. However, it continues to be widely used by industry due to the lack of appropriate alternatives: other materials such as tropical hardwood, concrete or steel each have their own drawbacks.
With creosote due to be banned once and for all in 2020, Foreco wants to step into the fencing market with a sustainable alternative: FaunaWood, combining the durability of tropical hardwood and the availability of concrete poles. We spoke with Adam Turi, Process Engineer at Foreco, to find out more.
What is the solution you have come up with?
“The new product uses European pinewood impregnated with a special bio-based resin, developed by our Bio4Products partners, BTG Biomass Technology Group and TransFurans Chemicals. After impregnation, the poles are dried and cured, fixing the resin in the wood.
“The result is a durable, strong wood pole, perfect for various applications. The impregnation ensures the product is not damaged by wood rotting fungi and termites for at least 25 years.
“During production the poles are processed (debarked and pointed) to the end application, thereby making FaunaWood easy to install and use.”
How does this contribute to the circular economy?
“Previous formulations of the FaunaWood resin had been made from sugarcane, but the new resin under development in Bio4Products is produced with plant and wood residues. This makes it possible to reuse an old FaunaWood pole as input for the bio-resin. A 100% circular product!”
When might the product be on the market?
“Within Bio4Products we still aim to improve some aspects of the product.
“Finding the best resin solution, which can sufficiently penetrate the heartwood part of the pine poles and increase its durability, has been a challenge. Drying and curing optimisation is still under development in order to achieve the fastest loop time of the product.
“We expect that FaunaWood will be available on the market by the end of 2019.”
The Bio4Products project receives funding from SPIRE (the Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency public-private partnership), to develop renewable alternatives to fossil-based processing streams.
Other partners are developing bio-based phenolic resins, insulation foams, and sand moulding and other furan based resins.