Wood innovations including cross-laminated timber can triple value of a tree, provide quake-resistant building solutions, say organizers of Future Forestry Finance conference in New Zealand

Wendy Lisney

Wendy Lisney

DUNEDIN, New Zealand , February 2, 2012 (press release) – Promising innovations, such as cross laminated timber, green chemicals and more will be showcased at the upcoming Future Forestry Finance conference.

“Innovations like cross laminated timber and green chemicals are the way forward for forestry. These products will enable the forest industry to make the most money out of our forest resources,” says John Stulen, Event Director for the Future Forestry Finance conference series.

It is estimated that the value of a tree can be tripled by manufacturing value-added products compared to just selling raw logs to overseas buyers.

Following the Canterbury earthquakes there is an urgent need for structurally-capable building solutions. Wood-based building designers can use cross laminated timber (CLT) to maximum effect for new structures in this region.

Robin Jack, a successful pioneer of wood manufacturing excellence, will speak about his leading role in bringing CLT to into new commercial building market in Australasia. This product is paving the way for high-rise timber buildings to be made in high density downtown sites, with quick build times and short on-site construction times.

Mr Jack explains, “CLT is an exciting new product which allows radiata pine to be much more effective at achieving structural integrity in buildings that are very earthquake-proof. Testing in Europe has proven the use of wood for complete structural walls for both residential and commercial applications”

In the field of green chemicals from timber, Vertichem was awarded an exclusive US-based patent for its gentle, integrated processing of plant biomass. The patent applies to three related but distinct processing stages at the core of Vertichem’s business, including: the extraction of high quality lignin from woody plant material; the production of Xylose from the hemicelluloses; and the efficient hydrolysis of cellulose present in plant material to form glucose, which is then fermented to produce ethanol.

Taupo-based spokesperson for Vertichem Kevin Snowdon says, “Our company’s target is to produce ‘green’ chemicals from forest-based resources replacing chemicals currently being supplied from non-renewable resources.

Mr Snowdon adds, “There’s huge potential about to be realized. The Canadian forest industry is well advanced in recognising the need to pursue higher returns from new markets. Australasian companies need to keep apace of these developments – and our technical leadership in this area is key to doing that.”

“These new bio-based products will take wood into new markets, which is good for all investors in the forest products supply chain,” says Mr Stulen.

Further updates on developments in other new-age forest products including airline fuels, bio-energy and bio-char will be presented by leading product developers in these areas.

Future Forestry Finance is happening in Sydney on 13-14 March at the Novotel Brighton Beach, and in Auckland on the 7-8 March.

For more information see the conference website www.forestryfinanceevents.com


About FIEA

The Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA), a division of Innovatek Ltd, is a unique grouping in Australasia. It's the principal vehicle for technology transfer for forestry and wood products companies. Through a range of independent programmes, new product and process technologies are introduced to New Zealand and Australian companies. Technologies best suited to the size of the industry and to the local wood resource are being identified and "showcased".

A regular series of conferences, practical workshops and managed exhibitions are run every year. Forestry and wood product companies, key product suppliers, researchers and technology providers from throughout the world are targeted and involved with the programmes. In addition to these events, new resources from the technology programmes are being supplied to New Zealand and Australian companies.

About Vertichem’s US-based patent
This patent approval secures Vertichem’s ability to produce natural, environmentally-sound green chemicals and biofuels using the company’s proprietary process. The products of the process – lignin, xylose, and cellulose – are environmentally-friendly green chemicals that offer alternatives to petrochemicals used in the industrial, commercial, food, consumer goods and pharmaceutical markets. Vertichem’s patented process has the ability to assist the multi-billion dollar specialty chemical industry in meeting its sustainability objectives while at the same time developing commercially viable innovative products.

About Lignin
Lignin is the second most abundant polymer found in nature. Its phenolic subunit structure makes it suitable for incorporation into plastics, glues and resins. Lignin is also a polyol, which means it has many hydroxyl subgroups that allow it to easily react with a variety of chemical agents. Lignin’s competitive edge is simply that it is a vast source of “green” chemical feedstock, which acts as a substitute for many petroleum-based feedstocks used by the petrochemical industry.

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