Technology for Wood and Natural Fiber-Based Materials

Research projects

Here you will find details of selected research projects. Please contact us if you require more information concerning our project portfolio.

Technology for Wood-Based Products and Alternative Raw Materials


Superwood for architecture and furniture

With support from the Fraunhofer WKI, designer Sofia Souidi is developing a formaldehyde-free material made from wood fibers and casein - a binder that was already being used as an adhesive many centuries ago. Mixed-in color pigments and granulates combined with 3D moldability enable a diverse range of design possibilities. The material is to be made, amongst other things, from recycled components and should itself be recyclable.


Lightweight materials made from hardwood

What will we use to make lightweight wood-based materials when there is no longer any spruce? In collaboration with the University of Göttingen, we are developing high-performance lightweight materials from hardwood. In doing so, we are contributing towards the efficient utilization of semi-natural mixed forests. The wood-based materials industry can benefit from the sustainable raw-material security and new marketing opportunities.


Flame-retardant wood-based materials through lignin adhesive

In order to enable a more extensive utilization of wood-based materials in high-rise construction and public buildings, flame-retardant treatment is necessary. In this project, we are developing a bio-adhesive on the basis of lignin, which simultaneously serves as a flame retardant. Furthermore, we are thereby opening up an ecologically and economically interesting application possibility for lignin.



Building efficiently with wood

How can the utilization of wood resources be optimized in such a way that the smallest-possible amount of forest area is used in order to build a house? What building materials are needed for this purpose and what can be saved through recycling? What ecological and economic advantages does this bring for urban and rural areas? The aim in this international project is to build two demonstration houses. At the Fraunhofer WKI, we are developing flame-retardant bio-materials for this purpose.


Flame-retardant bioplastics for electronics and logistics

In this project, we are developing flame-retardant, heat and impact resistant bioplastics and biocomposites which which can be processed by means of injection molding and 3D printing. Products such as light switches, sockets, motion detectors, cable ducts or charging stations for electric vehicles could soon be produced from biomaterials. 


Bio-Profiles for façades and windows

Window and façade profiles made from plastic are extremely popular due to their durability, low maintenance and good recyclability. In cooperation with the University of Stuttgart, we are developing profiles made from bioplastics in which regionally available plant residues, such as wheat straw, are used as filler material. 

New (hybrid) materials


Sustainable sandwich elements from wood foam and textile-reinforced concrete

We are developing a environmentally-friendly wood foam-textile-reinforced concrete sandwich element for exterior walls of energy-efficient buildings with small component thickness.


CeluPack – Pressure-resistant packaging material made from pure lignocellulose

We are developing a climate-friendly packaging material made primarily from residual agricultural materials such as corn cobs and other lignocellulose-based materials such as wood. It can be recycled together with cardboard secondary packaging.


Wood foam - from tree to foam

The project sounds incredible: is it possible to foam wood? As part of an internal pre-research project, the Fraunhofer WKI has developed innovative methods which enable the production of foams from pure wood.

Adhesives and wood chemistry


Formaldehyde-free amino resins on a glycol aldehyde basis for wood-based materials and decorative paper coatings

A new method was implemented in order to produce aminoplastic resins on the basis of melamine and alternative aldehydes and to apply these as adhesives for wood materials and decorative coatings.


Alternative formaldehyde-free urea resins for wood-based materials and decorative paper coatings

Building upon the knowledge gained from a prior project, the development of formaldehyde-free, low-cost (compared to melamine resins) urea resins for use as adhesives in wood-based materials and as impregnation resins for decorative paper coatings now seems promising.


Formaldehyde-free binding agents – modified with amino and naphthalene resins

In this project, we are currently developing binding agents which use formaldehyde-free resins based on melamine and naphthalene with improved characteristics for construction applications.

Recycling of waste wood and WPC


Recycling of Waste Wood

The collective term "waste wood" is used to denote all woods and wood-based products whose end of life as a product has been reached and which therefore fall under the definition of waste. Sources of raw materials which have, until now, only been insufficiently utilized should now be developed.

Cascading re-use of recovered wood

The Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research WKI is responsible for research on the waste wood cascade demonstrator. The aim of the project is to develop methods and technologies that the usable amount of pure wood fraction increases significantly in the future. Moreover, adhering to the timber contamination, coatings and ingredients to be detected and also recycled.


Recycling of rotor blades

Wind turbines are producing increasing quantities of sustainable electricity. The recycling of the rotor blades, however, has been very complicated and expensive up until now. We are developing an innovative recycling technology for the recovery of balsa wood and plastic foam from the rotor blades as well as recycling procedures for these recyclates, in order to utilize them in the production of new, improved insulation and building materials.

Measurement Technology


Rapid-aging procedure for structural wood-based materials

Whether buildings or vehicles: Many load-bearing components can now be made from wood, in particular from bonded wood-based materials and hybrid materials. Their aging behavior has, however, not been sufficiently researched up to now. In collaboration with Kassel University, we are developing a realistic rapid-aging procedure that can be utilized in particular by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Raw-material recovery from bulky waste

Bulky waste contains valuable raw materials. Due to the quantity and variety of the bulky waste that is accumulated, manual sorting is very laborious. In collaboration with project partners, we are developing a solution for the automated sorting of bulky waste in order to recover wood, wood-based materials and non-ferrous metals which is based on various image-acquisition and image-processing methods as well as artificial intelligence.


Efficient inspection of wind-turbine rotor blades

Wind energy is a mainstay of the energy revolution. The technical reliability of wind turbines is therefore constantly gaining in importance. Conventional inspection procedures require direct access to the rotor blades. Together with our project partners, we are striving within this project to achieve a simpler solution: inspection by means of a drone and passive thermography.