Wood and Fibre - KPI

IO3: Wood fibre, pulp, biopolymer, packaging and biochemical industries

Impact KPI-6 Industrial bioproducts

By 2019 new capital investment will be occurring in new and existing manufacturing industries in New Zealand as Scion’s developments in new high-value and performance focused products derived from forest materials and biomass side streams are being adopted.

Leading indicator
By 2016 Scion will establish two lines of biotech trees in a field containment trial: altered biomass utilisation aiming at biorefinery feedstocks, and lignin modified for pulp processibility.

New lines of biotech trees for altered biomass utilisation were established in the field trial and monitored and maintained. New lines of biotech trees were produced in the GM glasshouse ready for transfer to the field trial during winter 2016. The new lines incorporate an alternative modification of lignin for improved processing.
By 2016 Scion will have developed at least one new high-value product derived from forest or other biomass side streams (wood, fibre, pulp, biopolymer and chemical) to prototype stage that has been reviewed by a commercial partner for potential investment.
Projects looking at the feasibility to produce animal feed and slow release fertilisers were successfully completed with BPA funding with review by potential commercial partners. A commercial product development contract has targeted accessing lignin as a substitute for a petroleum product. 
By 2017 Scion will have aligned a cluster of organisations (including industry, government and research organisations) to pursue an integrated biorefinery concept (combining bioenergy and bioproducts) and together developed a joint roadmap.
A high level bark biorefinery concept pack was developed outlining potential business cases, technical validation of product opportunities, market validation of product opportunities and demonstration plant deployment. Discussions with Fraunhofer IGB and VTT on potential bark biorefinery collaborations commenced.
By 2017 Scion will have identified two potential biochemical opportunities from hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) processing of biomass.
Scion’s research focus was defined as: (1) HTL of pulping black liquors for fuels and chemicals; (2) HTL of woody feedstocks for marine biofuels.
Funding opportunities were explored through the Catalyst fund in collaboration with KIER and a MBIE Targeted Research Programme with Fraunhofer UMSICHT.
A memorandum of understanding was signed between KIER and Scion for the development of research cooperation in the field of energy technology.
By 2018 at least six new polymeric material products with renewable content have been developed to prototype stage using existing (e.g. extrusion, injection moulding) and emerging technologies (e.g. 3D-printing or electrospinning).
Four sets of 500 biodegradable net clips containing red grape pomace and biodegradable polymers were produced by extrusion and injection moulding. These were trialled at Villa Maria vineyards in Hawkes Bay during the run up to the 2016 harvest. None of the clips holding the nets gave way prematurely and the clips were all brittle enough to break when the nets were removed. Biodegradation of the clips in the vineyard is being monitored.
The Zespri biospife is being scaled-up for export. The compostable spoon-knife contains kiwifruit waste intended for use in compostable punnets of organic kiwifruit in the EU and Japanese markets, which have infrastructure for industrial composting. The formulation was finalised with both Zespri and Alto, who injection moulded the biospife. Incorporation of kiwifruit waste into an injection moulded product is novel.
By 2019 at least two of these polymeric material prototypes are incorporated in new product offerings by firms.
See 2018.

By 2019 Scion will have assisted a commercial packaging company to develop boxes with improved performance in coolstores.Scion’s WHITE (weight, humidity intervals, temperature and experiments) room became fully operational. The facility is a purpose-built coolroom to test and develop boxes with improved performance. Several commercial contracts with international and national partners were completed.
By 2019 new high performance products (packaging, composites and new compounded materials containing biopolymers) developed by Scion in collaboration with commercial partners are supporting the development of new industries in New Zealand and providing direct revenue to New Zealand.Tonne scale manufacture of the lignin-based patented bioadhesive and plywood trials were completed. A successful bioadhesive preparation (1.6 tonnes) was undertaken with a company. At another company, plywood was prepared over 3 hours, varying the open and closed assembly times and press schedules.
Other than the New Zealand companies participating in the trials, a range of commercial partners for our Ligate™ technology (bioadhesive technology utilising 100% renewable resources for wood panel products for homes and offices) have been defined and meetings planned.
A joint project with a major roading and infrastructure company progressed to develop renewable NZ-derived bitumen modifiers to replace imported petrochemical-based modifiers. When successful the modifiers will be scaled-up within the next two years.
By 2019 two lines of biotech trees will be harvested and processed to determine their viability as alternative biorefinery feedstock (production of high-value chemicals and/or processability for fibre or bioenergy). The investment case will have been presented to potential commercialising parties.
Biotech trees grown in the field trial and under glasshouse containment will be harvested once sufficient biomass has been produced to undertake experiments.
By 2019 Scion will have developed processes to produce unique natural fibres that, when used in Scion-developed packaging and wood composite applications, show improved product performance over 2014 materials.
Laboratory work began with large paper sheets produced using additives derived from pulp material; testing of sheets is underway for enhanced fibre bonding, particularly the stiffer mechanical pulp component that would enable greater use in packaging-grade papers/board.

By 2020 Scion and commercial partner(s) have developed a viable and New Zealand specific biorefinery business case based on Scion-developed high-value bioproducts and cost efficient technology platforms for commodity fibres and bioenergy.
Product targets under development.