Forest11.10.2011

Using wood a raw material is an eco-deed customer solution

Using wood is an eco-deed, provided that logging does not exceed forest growth.si teollisesti

Using wood is an eco-deed, provided that logging does not exceed forest growth.

Did you know that one cubic metre of wood has the same amount of energy as 270 litres of fuel oil? Or that wood raw material can be used down to the last splinter?

- There are still many beliefs and assumptions about the eco-friendliness of wood, even though the issue has been studied for a long time. Lifecycle analyses of wood have been made since the 1990s, says Matti Kairi, professor in Aalto University’s Forest Products Technology Department.

According to Kairi, wood harvested from a forest is a natural raw material in the true meaning of the word, as once cubic metre of dry wood contains the same amount of energy as 270 litres of fuel oil. One half of the dry weight of wood is carbon, sequestered by the tree from the CO2 in the atmosphere during growth.

- People have a natural desire or need to preserve wood material for as long as possible. Wood in houses may well have a lifetime of 50 to 100 years, and plywood formwork used for pouring concrete foundations may be used up to 200 times. Once wood reaches the end of its lifecycle, it can be incinerated for energy.

Down to the last splinter

Few raw materials can be utilised in industrial processes as efficiently as wood, whose residues can be used down to the last splinter and chip.

- The green wood material left over from Timber or Chipboard Industries can be used as pulp raw material, while dry wood material is incinerated in the power plants for energy and bark is used in landscaping. The mechanical forest industry has fine-tuned its logistics chain with the view of using the valuable wood raw material to the full, Kairi says.

Two fifths of all harvested wood is processed into final products, two fifths is used by other industries, and the rest is used in energy production, which is very beneficial for many. This also cuts down on the use of fossil fuels.

According to Kairi, trees serve as carbon sinks, sequestering carbon from the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and releasing oxygen.

- Forests are not destroyed by harvesting, as a new sapling is planted in place of each cut tree. Using wood is an eco-deed, provided that logging does not exceed forest growth.