Biorefinery business could put the South Australian forest industry back on the growth track

Dec 16, 2013
Logs waiting to be exported in the Portland dock.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, at the request of the South Australian State Government, studied the condition of the forest sector industries in the Green Triangle region and examined the added value that may be achievable through high technology production.

VTT proposed seven pathways to raise short-term local production value and establish specialised biorefinery business in the longer term.

The South Australian government invited VTT to identify ways of increasing the productivity of the region's forest and sawmill industry, and to promote co-operation among the region's businesses. After a year of research, VTT has now published its report, recommending seven future pathways for the region. Three have a time horizon of around 3-5 years, the remainder extending beyond 10 years.

The means proposed for raising short-term productivity are more efficient use of timber resources, increased production value for the construction industry, and tapping into opportunities offered by fibre raw material and industrial side streams. According to VTT, the X-ray scanning of timber could increase yield volume by 5 per cent, equivalent to extra annual sales revenue of AUD 70 million for large sawmills. Scanning is used to analyse the inner structure of the timber and identify optimal use.

Implementation of VTT's long-term recommendations requires the construction of new biorefineries for manufacturing highly refined products, such as absorbing materials and membranes, cellulose-based textiles, bio-based chemicals and polymers, as well as nanocellulose.

Tom Kenyon, South Australia's Minister for Manufacturing, Innovation and Trade, commended VTT's contribution: "VTT Technical Research Centre is a world leader in translating research into tangible business opportunities and I thank them for their detailed work which provides a report setting an agenda for the next 5—10 years and beyond."

The two-stage study was co-funded by the State Government and Federal Government.

South Australia boasts remarkable forestry resources: more than 340,000 hectares of plantation forest. These consist primarily of pine and eucalyptus. The sawmill industry provides work for around 35 per cent of the population in South Australia's Green Triangle region.

Explore further: VTT introduces deforestation monitoring method for tropical regions

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Biodegradable nappies from recycled cardboard

Mar 13, 2013

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a process that enables recycled paper and cardboard to be used as a raw material for nonwovens. Hygiene and home care products, such as nappies, sanitary ...

Recommended for you

Godzilla stomps back in ultra HD, wires intact

Aug 27, 2014

At a humble Tokyo laboratory, Godzilla, including the 1954 black-and-white original, is stomping back with a digital makeover that delivers four times the image quality of high definition.

Overly polite drivers, not roadworks, cause traffic jams

Aug 25, 2014

British motorists who are too polite or timid in their driving style are the cause of lengthy traffic jams across the UK, particularly when faced with roadworks or lane closures, according to a leading Heriot-Watt ...

Voice, image give clues in hunt for Foley's killer

Aug 21, 2014

Police and intelligence services are using image analysis and voice-recognition software, studying social media postings and seeking human tips as they scramble to identify the militant recorded on a video ...

Smartphone-loss anxiety disorder

Aug 21, 2014

The smart phone has changed our behavior, sometimes for the better as we are now able to connect and engage with many more people than ever before, sometimes for the worse in that we may have become over-reliant on the connectivity ...

User comments : 0