Fraunhofer IGB starts German-New Zealand cooperation on biorefining of tree bark

Fraunhofer IGB News /

On August 30, 2017, the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB received start-up funding from the Catalyst Fund of the State of New Zealand for their cooperation with SCION, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute focusing on the wood industry and processing. In the future, the two institutes will work together to develop new ideas in the field of bark utilisation in biorefineries and plan joint research projects.

© Fraunhofer IGB
Wood processing at Fraunhofer IGB.

The metaphorical institute name SCION stands for the New Zealand Forest Research Institute. The research facility, based in Rotorua, specializes in research and technology development in the fields of forestry, wood products, wood-based and other (bio)materials.

Before the cooperation agreement was signed in the spring of 2017, several meetings had already taken place in which the respective competencies of the partners involved were analyzed. On this basis, initial approaches for joint projects were developed. The focus will be on the utilization of tree bark.

Representatives of SCION were also able to present this promising cooperation to the German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who made a state visit to New Zealand at the beginning of November during his trip to Asia and learned more about the country's research landscape.

The next steps within the framework of the cooperation between Fraunhofer IGB and SCION are reciprocal visits by scientists to the institutes now. For example, SCION expert Dr. Warren Grisby already visited the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna in November for a coordination meeting. The IGB institute has been working on the utilization of wood and wood components for a long time. Fraunhofer CBP has particular expertise in the field of upscaling of manufacturing processes. In return, Susanne Zibek, who heads the Institute's Industrial Biotechnology Research Group, will visit SCION next year.