Industry News

Grown in Britain campaign for homegrown wood gets Innovate UK support

A Grown in Britain campaign has received financial support from the UK's innovation agency, Innovate UK, to study how hardwood supply chain in the UK can be improved. 

The 12 months project will start in in October 2015, aiming to grow the market for hardwood timber coming from UK woodlands. 

That is a challenging target since, currently, more than 80% of all of the timber and timber products used in the UK are imported.

"There are more than 30 million tonnes of timber in unmanaged woodlands throughout the UK which the project will begin to unlock", explained Dougal Driver, Grown in Britain chief executive. "With the UK relying on high levels of imported timber, this campaign is vital to break down barriers within the supply chain for home-grown hardwood, making it much more accessible and readily available.”

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Napier University team awarded for innovative nanocellulose research

Materials chemistry researchers from Edinburgh Napier University have been awarded a special commendation for their role in the commissioning of a low-cost nanocellulose production plant at Sappi’s annual Technical Innovation Awards event in London.

A reward that is particularly significant considering that Sappi Ltd represents one of the leading global pulp and paper producer.

The Scots-based team, composed by Professor Rob English, who led the research, and his Edinburgh Napier colleague Dr Rhodri Williams have been honoured alongside Sappi’s project leader for new technology development, Dr Saschi Momin. 

The technology developed by the Edinburgh Napier team uses unique chemistry which allows wood pulp fibres to be readily broken down into Cellulose NanoFibrils (CNF). The bio-based material has use in a wide range of applications, including packaging, touch screen displays, automotive, paint, foods, concrete and even wound care. 

The pilot plant for the production will be built at the Brightlands Chemelot Campus in Sittard-Geleen in the Netherlands.

BFM chairman John Alston stands down

The British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) Chairman John Alston stood down at the end of the last Board meeting, as having sold Alston’s Upholstery, he has now left the furniture industry.

Matt O’Flynn, Managing Director of Collins and Hayes, is taking Alston's place, while Brian Ahern, BFM Director and Industry Consultant, has been appointed interim Vice Chairman.

Find out more on BFM website.

Scottish firm invests £4m in CLT following Napier University work

The profitable collaboration between the Edinburgh Napier University and the Scottish construction firm CCG will give the UK its first large scale CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) production facility. 

In fact, following the research undertaken by the University’s Institute for Sustainable Construction, CCG has bought a new 122,000 sq. ft. plant, for a total investment of ca. £4.2m.

The facility will be used to produce ‘massive’ timber (aka CLT), a building material made of multiple layers of lumber oriented at right angles to one another and then glued to create wood panels exceptionally strong.

"This alternative construction system is not currently manufactured in the UK and has to be imported from countries such as Russia and Scandinavia, adding cost and undermining its potential environmental advantages", highlighted the Herald Scotland in a recent article

“The next step will hopefully be the integration of home-grown timber into the facility, which our research has shown is technically feasible once supply chain issues are resolved. And if that happens it will be a significant boost to the Scottish and UK economies.”, added Dr Robert Hairstans, Head of the Centre for Offsite Construction & Innovative Structures (COCIS).

Researchers developed high-capacity soft batteries from wood pulp

According to the Guardian, this month a team of Swedish and American researchers has discovered a method to produce high-capacity, soft batteries from wood pulp.

"Using nanocellulose broken down from tree fibres, a team from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Stanford University produced an elastic, foam-like battery material that can withstand shock and stress", announced the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm.

Obviously these new batteries need a futher development before a massive scale production, but the product could represent a turning point in the recycling process. Currently, in fact, "around 22,000 tonnes of household batteries still end up in landfill sites every year", highlights Recycle More.