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Wood composite set to eliminate CO2 emissions of the ceramics industry

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New eco-friendly wood composite poised to transform bathroom furniture

An EU-funded project is bringing Woodio®, a waterproof wood composite that offers a more ecological alternative to ceramics and stone, closer to commercial production.

Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

Climate change poses a significant challenge that industries worldwide are grappling with – and the ceramics industry is no exception. The industry’s heavy reliance on fossil gas, high energy consumption, significant carbon emissions, extensive use of potable water and low recyclability contribute to the problem. This is where Finland-based company Woodio comes in. Woodio’s mission is to combat climate change by replacing these high carbon footprint materials with their patented Woodio® material. “Woodio’s patented material is the world’s first low-energy, 100 % waterproof and low carbon footprint wood composite,” notes Olli Arojärvi, Woodio’s chief financial officer. “It not only addresses the environmental issues associated with ceramics but also offers appealing product features such as lower weight, better durability, ease of maintenance and unique customisable designs.” The EU-funded WOODRY project has been instrumental in enhancing the market potential of Woodio® by improving its product features. “Until now, Woodio’s production has been on a small scale, focusing on continuous development and testing activities. However, the company needs to expand its operations and automate its production to increase capacity and cater to larger markets,” adds Arojärvi.

Project activities

WOODRY’s activities focused on advancing material development, creating second-generation production methods and building market awareness of Woodio as a novel solution provider. “The challenge has been to ensure that neither the aesthetic appeal of the products nor the sustainability of the material is compromised,” states Arojärvi. Significant progress has been made in material recipe development by increasing the biocontent of the raw materials, namely through the use of bioresin and bio-adhesives. Work also focused on enhancing the use of side stream wood chips instead of native resources. Implementation of this development work will happen step by step during the coming years. Advanced production methods were tested to further improve product quality and production efficiency. Various approaches to moulding and casting were also explored.

Innovative products

Project activities have enabled Woodio to broaden their product portfolio and enhance the sustainability of the Woodio® material. “WOODRY has significantly helped us target global bathroom markets, allowing us to extend beyond 3D products such as washbasins to also include 2D solutions – panels and solid surfaces,” highlights Arojärvi. WOODRY has significantly advanced the technology readiness level and maturity of the Woodio® material and products. As a result, the company is now prepared for commercial-scale production, marking a new phase in its business operations. The Woodio brand and products have received recognition through several design awards such as the prestigious Design Plus powered by ISH, a leading trade fair for water and energy management in buildings. “Our primary goal is to replace high carbon footprint interior products with our sustainable Woodio® material. With our new production method and improved moulds and coatings, we can increase the use of biofillers and the overall biocontent of the material, greatly enhancing its sustainability,” outlines Arojärvi. “By 2025, we aim for Woodio products to be carbon negative. In addition to the increase of the material’s biocontent, this ambitious target includes a recycling solution for Woodio products that we have already successfully developed,” concludes the project coordinator.

Keywords

WOODRY, Woodio, wood composite, ceramics, bathroom, kitchen

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