Oregon State University aims to spearhead development of engineered wood products for use in building taller, sustainable wood structures, promoting use of US-made wood products; plans include wood innovation center, pilot manufacturing plant on campus

LOS ANGELES , February 13, 2014 () – Oregon State University (OSU) is aiming to lead the development of engineered wood products systems in the U.S. that can be used to build sustainable wooden structures, the Gazette-Times reported on Jan. 31.

OSU President Ed Ray announced the initiative at the end of January during his State of the University speech in Portland.

“Beginning this year, OSU’s College of Forestry will lead a new national effort to advance the science and the technology necessary to utilize wood in the construction of much taller multi-story -- and environmentally friendly – buildings,” Ray said in his Jan. 31 address. “This public-private partnership will change how buildings are engineered and built. It will create new markets for high-value wood products that can be manufactured here in Oregon and reclaim high-paying jobs for our rural communities.”

Using the latest technology, the project will focus on designing taller wooden buildings, exploring the possibility of skyscrapers.

Europe is currently a large producer of engineered structural wood products. OSU and other advocates of the plan intend to begin production of the materials with domestically grown timber.

More advanced adhesives have helped engineered wood products to become viable options for structural material, according to Thomas Maness, dean of OSU’s College of Forestry, who noted that cross-laminated timber has a high strength-to-weight ratio at lengths of up to 50 feet.

Maness said the College of Forestry was working with architect Michael Green of Vancouver, British Columbia, and Seattle’s Miller Hull to design a wood innovation center and pilot manufacturing plant at OSU using state-of-the-art materials and construction techniques to showcase the technology. It hopes to begin construction by the end of 2015 or early 2016, and is considering funding options, the Gazette-Times reported.

The primary sources of this article are the Gazette-TImes, Corvallis, Oregon on Jan. 31, 2014, and OSU President Ed Ray's State of the University address, Portland, Oregon, Jan. 31, 2014.

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