Recycling of Waste Wood and WPC

Research focus

In order to be able to use waste wood repeatedly within the meaning of cascade utilization, the correct classification and sorting of contaminated wood in accordance with the waste wood categories is necessary. For this purpose, we are adapting new detection and sorting technologies and developing new products from waste wood.

© Fraunhofer WKI | Peter Meinlschmidt
Waste wood and residual wood.

The increasing energetic recovery of various types of wood presents the wood-based materials industry with a major challenge. The German particle board industry alone has an annual demand for wood of more than 5 million tons, whereby the proportion of recycling wood currently stands at 34 percent. Under the current German Altholzverordnung (waste wood ordinance), only certain types of waste wood are permitted for material utilization. As a homogeneous separation has been barely possible until now, higher-value types of wood are currently also being incinerated. At the Fraunhofer WKI, process technology concepts are therefore being developed for a more efficient material recycling of waste wood.

Cascade utilization

A basic prerequisite for the repeated utilization of wood is a correct classification in accordance with the waste wood categories. To achieve this, the Fraunhofer WKI is concentrating on the development or adaptation of detection techniques with subsequent treatment by means of suitable crushing and separation procedures.

In addition to the raw material wood, its coatings and constituents are also to be exploited as strategic future raw material sources. The aim is to sort this recyclable material with the highest possible degree of separation, thereby significantly increasing the recovery proportion. Furthermore, we research and develop new exploitation approaches and forms of utilization.


Current research topics:

  • Up-Cycling of waste wood: processing of waste wood with large cross-sections
  • Balsa wood from rotor blades of wind turbines for the production of insulation materials
  • Development of an efficient procedure for the recycling of furniture particle board for the production of WPC