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

Privacy groups take 2nd hit on license plate data

Sep 19, 2014

A California judge's ruling against a tech entrepreneur seeking access to records kept secret in government databases detailing the comings and goings of millions of cars in the San Diego area via license plate scans was ...

Scots' inventions are fuel for independence debate

Sep 17, 2014

What has Scotland ever done for us? Plenty, it turns out. The land that gave the world haggis and tartan has produced so much more, from golf and television to Dolly the Sheep and "Grand Theft Auto."

White House backs use of body cameras by police

Sep 16, 2014

Requiring police officers to wear body cameras is one potential solution for bridging deep mistrust between law enforcement and the public, the White House said, weighing in on a national debate sparked by the shooting of ...

Chinese city creates cellphone sidewalk lane

Sep 15, 2014

Taking a cue from an American TV program, the Chinese city of Chongqing has created a smartphone sidewalk lane, offering a path for those too engrossed in messaging and tweeting to watch where they're going.

Coroner: Bitcoin exchange CEO committed suicide

Sep 15, 2014

A Singapore Coroner's Court has found that the American CEO of a virtual currency exchange committed suicide earlier this year in Singapore because of work and personal issues.

User comments : 0