Technology for Wood and Natural Fiber-Based Materials

Research Project

BASAJAUN – Building A SustainAble Joint between rurAl and UrbaN Areas Through Circular And Innovative Wood Construction Value Chains 

Buildings made from wood are good for the climate and protect the Earth's resources. Nevertheless, even wood is not infinitely available, and forests are valuable ecosystems for animals and plants. So how can the utilization of wood resources from the forest 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? These are the central questions in this international project. The aim is to build two demonstration houses. At the Fraunhofer WKI, we are developing flame-retardant bio-materials for this purpose.

The illustration shows a forest, a pile of tree trunks, a factory and a residential house as icons; the icons are connected to one another via a winding arrow which has an arrowhead at each end.
© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Both urban and rural areas could benefit from an efficient wooden-construction value chain.
Graphic representation of the work packages as boxes with connecting arrows.
PERT diagram shows the work packages of the project and how they are connected with one another. The Fraunhofer WKI is participating in the development of innovative materials (Work Package 4).

The BASAJAUN project is comprised of the following steps:

  • Development of resource-saving building materials (thermal insulation, composite materials, insulated structural components, paints) and components (supporting structure, façades, floors, walls, roof and fasteners) on the basis of renewable raw materials and residues
  • Construction of two four-story buildings with 16 apartments each as demonstration objects
  • Digitization of the entire value-creation chain from the forest to the building
  • Studies into the impact on rural development on a regional basis
  • Calculation of the life-cycle assessment of all products along the value-creation chain
  • Website with information on the involvement of stakeholders from rural regions and urban settlements

At the Fraunhofer WKI, we are developing flame-retardant building materials. As raw materials we use wood waste, recycled polymers and bio-polymers. From these, we produce compounds and thermoplastic composites, which are then utilized in the two demonstration houses. In this way, we are expanding the possibilities for constructing buildings from sustainable materials whilst simultaneously fulfilling the fire-protection requirements.

The project has a total volume of around 12.1 million euros, of which around 10 million euros are funding from the European Union. The coordinator of the project is the Spanish research institute “TECNALIA Research & Innovation”. TECNALIA had previously coordinated a number of research projects on which the new BASAJAUN project is based. One of the previous projects was High durable and fire performance WPC for ventilated facades (HIFIVENT), in which the Fraunhofer WKI was involved.

The short project titel “BASAJAUN” is an allusion to a legendary figure from Basque mythology: a hairy giant who lives in the forest. He is also known as the “Lord of the Forest”. 

Project partners

In this project, wood-processing companies, research institutes, associations and public authorities are working together. A total of 30 partners from 12 countries are participating. More information on the partners can be found here:

Project profile on the EU CORDIS project platform


This project receives funding within the framework of the European Union’s “Horizon 2020” research and innovation program under the funding number 862942.


Duration: 1.10.2019 to 1.10.2023