The development of an European research and innovation network in the field of wood-based bioeconomy– LignoLink brought the initiator team from Fraunhofer IMW, Thünen-Institut für Holzforschung and BioEconomy Cluster on the way to Latvia and Estonia.

Wood-based bioeconomy in the Baltic States

To initiate and develop European research and innovation projects, we first visited the Life Sciences University in Tartu/Estonia with its wood processing laboratories. There we talked to numerous scientists about their main areas such as silviculture, woodworking technologies and smart solutions for optimizing harvesting and cultivation scenarios. Estonia, too, is driven by climate change and the necessary changes in silviculture. In the future, this will lead to a restructuring of the existing value chains and their processing structures, which will require new, innovative wood-based products and technologies in all areas.

New tree species, changed soils and shorter winter periods also affect different research projects here. We visited Arcwood, for example, a company that manufactures and sells CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) for timber construction. After the very interesting exchange and establishment of contacts we went on to Jelgava/Latvia to the Institute for Applied Research and Development for Forests and Wood Products MeKa and its spin-off company IKTK. Their core competences lie in timber construction technology, primarily with glued, laminated beams for load-bearing structural elements or bridges. The MeKa development team is also involved in testing, inspection and certification.

The coniferous forestry and timber industries in North-Eastern and Central Europe, especially with pine and spruce, are also exposed to a process of change and are looking for more resilient alternatives. These may be specially produced/cloned species of aspen or birch. The innovative, efficient and above all sustainable use of biomass wood is of social, economic and ecological importance particularly for the raw material-rich regions of Northern, Central and South-Eastern Europe.

In the project period from 1.9.2018 to 31.8.2020, the network partners will primarily link companies with application-oriented research institutions in Central and Eastern Europe in order to develop innovative, bio-based approaches within the framework of European joint projects and bring them to the market.