Emily Tregidgo – emt2179
1) Sustainability Problem: Energy, materials
It is projected that the use of forests for timber and pulp will continue to increase in the coming years. Both timber production and pulp production can drive forest degradation and deforestation. For example, the development of “fast wood” (i.e. acacia) forests to meet increasing demand is one such driver. The practice of selective logging also drives forest degradation and deforestation. While wood can be a renewable resource if managed properly, our consumption of, demand for, and extraction of wood products can compromise the sustainability of our forests, their surrounding ecosystems, and in turn the systems that rely on these products (including the energy system).1
2) Sustainability Technology: Woodoo
- Woodoo removes air and lignin from wood and replaces it with a bio-based polymer, which enhances the wood’s performance. Woodoo is then able to sell the lignin to the specialty chemistry market to mitigate Woodoo’s costs.
- In terms of materials, Woodoo focuses on using wood from “unused, low-grade wood species.” The end product is a translucent wood material and the product is marketed as (amongst other things) sturdier, biobased, recyclable, and weather and fire-resistant. Woodoo states that the product has “strength profile of metal and the cost profile of low-grade wood.”
- The product is applicable for smart surfaces (and is touch-sensitive), particularly in the car and retail industries that are indexed on simultaneously decreasing their products’ weight, and improving their emissions profiles and customer experience.
- The product is also applicable to the construction industry – it is an alternative to premium wood (i.e. can reduce the use of endangered wood species) and can in some instances replace other materials such as concrete, glass, and steel.
- Car manufacturers
- Construction companies (particularly the materials sourcing team)
- Consumers (car owners/drivers, building tenants)
- Communities surrounding forests/areas with low-grade wood and the other wood sources Woodoo uses
- Specialty chemistry market (lignin purchasers)
4) The First Three Steps in Deploying This Technology
- Market the product to key consumers, such as car manufacturers and construction companies.
- Ensure that the material is up to building code and standards of other industries in which this may be used.
- Invest in additional use cases and encourage uptake of the product at the beginning of the construction cycle – many buildings and cars generally have a long asset life, and retro-fitting those assets presents a series of challenges.