Scion showcases the wonders of wood

7 March 2011

People have been burning it, building with it and crafting it for millennia, and in future we may be running our cars with wood.

At Scion’s free open day on Saturday 12 March, the public can learn why wood is one of the biggest and best natural resources available.

Scion’s head of Bioproduct Development Dr Elspeth MacRae says the wood produced from sustainably managed forests can meet a huge portion of New Zealand’s material and energy needs.

“The more we learn about wood, the more potential we can see for using it in new and exciting ways.

“Just as milk can be used as the basis for a wide range of dairy products, so wood can be broken down and reprocessed into a range of industrial chemicals, bioplastic products and biofuels,” Dr MacRae explains.

Visitors to Science in the Park can witness wood’s amazing strength and flexibility, and see why wooden buildings do so well in earthquakes.

They can also watch as wood fibres are made into paper and learn about all the things that can be made by mixing wood fibres with bioplastics.

By breaking wood down even further, it is possible to make liquid biofuels that can be used to replace fossil fuels.

“Science is needed to create new materials and products from renewable resources so modern standards of living can be sustained in the future,” Dr MacRae says.

“Wood is an amazing substance that can be produced with far less impact on the environment than other industrial feedstocks. Our role at Scion is to make the most of this valuable resource.”

Visitors are invited to come along between 9am – 3pm to learn more about the wonders of wood.  

People who want to take a guided tour through Scion’s wood and fibre laboratories will need to wear closed footwear.