Navigation path

Countries
Countries
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Botswana
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czech Republic
  Denmark
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Finland
  France
  Gambia
  Georgia
  Germany
  Ghana
  Greece
  Hungary
  Iceland
  India
  Indonesia
  Ireland
  Israel
  Italy
  Japan
  Kazakhstan
  Kenya
  Korea
  Latvia
  Lichtenstein
  Lithuania
  Luxembourg
  Madagascar
  Malaysia
  Malta
  Mexico
  Montenegro
  Morocco
  Namibia
  Netherlands
  Nigeria
  Norway
  Panama
  Peru
  Poland
  Portugal
  Romania
  Russia
  Senegal
  Serbia
  Slovakia
  Slovenia
  South Africa
  Spain
  Sri Lanka
  Swaziland
  Sweden
  Switzerland
  Taiwan
  Tanzania
  Thailand
  Tunisia
  Turkey
  Uganda
  Ukraine
  United Kingdom
  United States
  Vietnam

Themes
Agriculture & food
Energy
Environment
ERA-NET
Health & life sciences
Human resources & mobility
Industrial research
Information society
Innovation
International cooperation
Nanotechnology
Pure sciences
Research infrastructures
Research policy
Science & business
Science in society
Security
SMEs
Social sciences and humanities
Space
Special Collections
Transport


   Countries

Last Update: 03-07-2012  
Related category(ies):
Agriculture & food  |  Success stories  |  Research policy

 

Countries involved in the project described in the article:
Belgium  |  Germany  |  Greece  |  Hungary  |  Italy  |  Latvia  |  Norway  |  Romania  |  Spain
Add to PDF "basket"

FORBIOPLAST – Drawing on forest resources to aid sustainable manufacturing

The timber industry currently wastes huge amounts of precious wood by-products like chips, shavings and sawdust that could otherwise be put to use. European researchers, with the support of EU funding, are finding new ways to ensure every little bit counts.

©Fotolia
© Fotolia, 2012

In order to alleviate the depletion of the world's natural resources, it is crucial to find ways of making better use of wood, without chopping down more trees. FORBIOPLAST (Forest Resource Sustainability through Bio-Based-Composite Development), a research consortium receiving 4,317,000 € in EU funding over four years, may offer the solution.

They are examining how to use wood byproducts as raw materials to make composite foams.

There are many potential applications for wood composites. Coordinated by the University of Pisa, the 16 FORBIOPLAST partners are developing innovative chemical and biological processes to help change the way wood fibres interact with polymers.

Carmaker FIAT, one of the FORBIOPLAST partners, is looking at using wood fibres as natural fillers to replace synthetic and glass fibres in vehicle parts like seats, dashboards, and door panels.

Europe's packaging sector, already under pressure to reduce its use of plastics, is looking for substitutes that are strong, flexible and adaptable.

Here, the research uses wood fibres as components in biodegradable composite materials. FORBIOPLAST is working on replacements for cardboard or plastic boxes that carry items as varied as cosmetics, detergents, fish, or eggs. The project is also looking at applications for the farming sector, like biodegradable plant pots, tomato yarn and fertilisers.

There are multiple challenges for the researchers. For example, while the auto-motive industry demands solid, durable products, the packaging sector wants non-toxic, biodegradable materials that can be composted or directly in soil degradation. The experiments involve different source material, with some of the applications using olive oil waste water. FORBIOPLAST aims to examine these challenges and turn its research into eco-friendly commercial applications, ensuring that we can make the most of our forestry resources, without depleting them.

It may be years before any wood composite shampoo bottles or car seats are widely available, but researchers are working to bring them to market. Wood remains a prized material, for its strength, versatility and beauty.

But market prospects for wood composites have spurred European researchers into finding new ways to salvage what would otherwise be considered wood waste. And there are wood by-products readily available.

The global timber industry annually discards hundreds of millions of tonnes of bark, chips, sawdust, and black liquor from the making of wood pulp. Some of these have already found their way into engineered wood products bonded together with resins, resulting in a booming market.

The more efficient and sustainable exploitation of renewable natural resources such as forestry residues and waste, will allow the European economy to reduce its strong dependency on fossil resources for the production of valueadded products. Furthermore, new markets for bio-based products have the potential to generate new jobs and economic growth.

Project details

  • Participants: Germany, Italy (Coordinator), Belgium, Spain, Greece, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Norway
  • FP7 Proj. N° 212239
  • Total costs: € 5 966 874
  • EU contribution: € 4 317 515
  • Duration: July 2008 - June 2012

Convert article(s) to PDF

No article selected


loading


Search articles

Notes:
To restrict search results to articles in the Information Centre, i.e. this site, use this search box rather than the one at the top of the page.

After searching, you can expand the results to include the whole Research and Innovation web site, or another section of it, or all Europa, afterwards without searching again.

Please note that new content may take a few days to be indexed by the search engine and therefore to appear in the results.

Print Version
Share this article
See also

Project web site

Project information on CORDIS

Contacts
Unit A1 - External & internal communication,
Directorate-General for Research & Innovation,
European Commission
Tel : +32 2 298 45 40
  Top   Research Information Center