Wood is an important raw material, but a considerable part of wood’s possibilities from the forest to consumers is still unknown. Research investments must be increased in the forest sector’s entire value chain.
We still do not know how to use all the chemicals in wood. We know the main components of wood, but a lot of research remains to be done concerning extractives, for example. Extractives could be used in treating different illnesses such as cancer, among other things.
Bio-based materials are a significant research area. Applications include different types of composites, fine chemicals and cosmetic products. Nanotechnology can be used to give fibres new properties such as conductivity, allowing them to be used in the electronics industry, for example.
Customized wood procurement chains, the efficient production of wood biomass and its better utilization as a source of energy and in the production of ethanol, bio-refineries and resource-saving production technologies are other important research areas.
The forest-based sector is also looking for financing to alleviate the effects of climate change and evaluate related costs.
Hybrid media or combining media to provide smart applications, interactive paper and different forms of electronic media will allow new categories of products and services in future. A lot of research and development remains to be done in the area of collecting and recycling paper and wood products. In the wood building and living sector research is focusing on energy efficiency, health issues such as room air quality and acoustics, combining different materials, developing the properties of wood such as moisture resistance, elasticity and strength, and IT solutions.
An international conference on innovation and R&D in the forest-based sector will take place in Lahti, Finland on 22-23 November 2006. Around 400 research and financing experts from all over Europe are attending the conference. Working groups will look at many different research areas to prepare guidelines for applying for available research funds.
Chairman of the preparatory committee, tel. +358 9 6865 4521, mobile +358 40 510 9044, markku.lehtonen @ woodfocus.fi
European Technology Platforms are a new form of cooperation designed to coordinate research and financing. The Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform brings together key actors in the sector with the aim of spurring joint research efforts in Europe. It provides industry with the possibility to focus and coordinate resources for research in a way that supports companies’ business objectives and creates a good foundation for improving competitiveness through R&D.
The Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform has defined a vision for 2030 according to which the European forest-based sector is a competitive, knowledge-based industry that is customer-driven, enjoys global technological leadership and plays a key role in promoting sustainable development. Europe has shifted significantly to utilizing sustainable raw materials by ensuring the multiple use of forests. The European Forest-Based Sector Technology Platform’s Strategic Research Agenda maps out areas in which research and development need to focus in future in order to achieve the vision.
More at www.forestplatform.org