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Circular use of wood in Norway for improved sustainability and innovation

Alternative title: Sirkulær bruk av tre for økt bærekraft og innovasjon

Awarded: NOK 39.9 mill.

In Norway, around 12 m3 timber are logged per year. According to the national strategy for the forest and timber industry, SKOG22, there are sustainable grounds to increase the amount of timber to at least 15 m3 per year. However, if our society is to succeed in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions in line with the Paris Agreement, it is expected that the need for resources will be significantly greater than that. To increase the use of wood in construction, short-distance raw materials are needed. Recycled wood will be a crucial input factor through new reuse and material recycling solutions. Increased innovation and value creation must go hand in hand to take advantage of the opportunities recycled wood has to offer. In order to close knowledge gaps related to the availability and quality of recycled wood, circWOOD will investigate aspects of wood use in the Norwegian economy, with particular emphasis on the reuse of wood in construction projects, and recycled wood as raw material in today's wood industry. Research results, especially related to resource access and material flows, will be linked to the facilitation of circular flow of goods, handling, environmental impact, design and production of wood in, and towards, relevant markets in Norway and abroad. circWOOD will follow the life cycle of Norwegian recycled wood and find new ways to make use of this resource. The project will analyze the sustainability and environmental footprint of the wood-value chain based on strategies and new technologies that contribute to circularity. circWOOD will identify and investigate ways in which processes can be simplified, by using the latest methods for digital collection, analysis and sharing of data. In addition, the project will address the underlying political frameworks and study the economic impact they have. circWOOD is an integral part of sirkTRE that aims to lift the wood industry and the construction industry towards the holistic circular, green shift.

The future Norwegian bioeconomy must use timber in the most resource-efficient manner. The circWOOD project is a Green Platform project that will look at all aspects of wood use in the Norwegian economy, with particular emphasis on reuse and recycling. The circWOOD project will provide technical support to the Green Platform sirkTRE project, but also operate independently. The focus of the circWOOD project is on analysing the flows for the timber resource through the Norwegian economy and finding new ways to improve the efficiency of use of this increasingly valuable resource. Efficiency will be improved by studying the quantities and types of timber that become available at the end of life and determining the different ways in which the wood can be reused for second lives, or even further down the value chain. In this way stored atmospheric carbon will stay in the Norwegian economy for a longer time. At the present time, there are gaps in our understanding of the availability and quality of reclaimed wood and how this will change going forward. This lack of knowledge is making investment decisions problematical. Apart from improving our understanding of wood availability, the project will also develop methods to ensure that whatever strategies and technologies are adopted, the environmental impacts are minimised and reduced compared to current practice. The gathering of data to support investment and policy decisions is not easy and the circWOOD project will explore ways of simplifying this process through the adoption of the latest methods of electronic data capture, data sharing and analysis. New technologies for the future bioeconomy will not be introduced without the proper policy framework and public acceptance. The circWOOD project will therefore address these vital issues, as well as studying the economic impacts.

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