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Second dialogue platform "Wood-based bioeconomy Switzerland"

On 5 December 2023, we discussed the wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland with representatives from various areas of wood research and business.

The S-WIN team presented the status of the fact sheet "Wood-based bioeconomy Switzerland", which aims to provide an overview of the challenges and opportunities of the wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland. It is being developed in collaboration with SATW - Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences & SKB - Swiss Coordination Committee for Biotechnology.

The fact sheet is intended to serve as the most up-to-date basis for discussion and decision-making with clear content that has been agreed with the industry.

The factsheet focuses on bioproduct plants and the utilisation of waste wood as new technologies in the wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland. Although forestry, timber construction and wood energy are not examined in depth, they are also contextualised in the factsheet as the core of the current wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland.

Florentine Hilty presented Weidman Fiber Technology, a Swiss start-up with a global presence. Weidmann Fiber Technology is an example of products from the bioproduct factory, developed in Switzerland and produced abroad - where the product is needed.

Ingo Burgert, ETHZ, and the MainWood project team gave an insight into their research project, which focusses on the circular timber economy and within which, among other things, the efficient use of low-quality wood as a building material is being investigated. The project aims to support the wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland with findings on recycling in timber construction, the efficient use of resources and material developments.





It emerged from discussions that bioproduct plants in Switzerland can only become a self-sustaining part of the bioeconomy if...

  • There is a market for products with high value-added potential, as small production units are more conceivable for Switzerland as a location

  • The raw materials for the production of high-quality products are available in Switzerland (e.g. by-products from paper production)

  • Biomasses other than wood are (additionally) used as raw materials

However, the research and development of wood-based chemical substances and the licensing of the technology for production abroad (where the necessary raw materials are available or the product has a market) appears to be profitable.

The participants argued that there is a need for quantity structures for each available wood quality and possible areas of application in order to be able to plan possible raw material quantities for the production of (new) products.Accordingly, a bioeconomy strategy for Switzerland would be useful in order to define strategic directions and scientifically sound concepts for the resource-efficient and sustainable use of land and resources. In addition, the wood cycle could be developed with the valorisation of residual materials (waste wood) and cooperation between politics, research and industry could be promoted.

 

The informative event was rounded off with a guided tour of the ETHZ Structural Engineering Lab, which ended with a spectacular timber construction material test.


Thank you to all the participants for their contributions and active involvement!


We look forward to receiving your feedback, contributions and questions on the future and other topics of the wood-based bioeconomy in Switzerland.




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