Looking to the future, we will strive to retain our strong sustainability position and further improve Accoya® wood’s outstanding environmental performance. With this in mind, we are continuously innovating and researching ways in which this can be achieved on various levels – most notably in terms of factory efficiency and local wood sourcing.
With our environmentally sound production process in place and the continuous improvements mentioned above, we are confident that we will remain world leaders in sustainable wood technology.
Improving efficiency within our plant in Arnhem in order to achieve higher batch volumes, shorter batch times, lower energy consumption, improved renewable energy content and best practice systems with respect to waste water treatment is an ongoing goal. As an example, Accsys reports that since 2010, as a result of C2C Gold certification, over half of the energy consumption of the acetylation plant is based on renewable resources, while greenhouse gas emissions as a result of energy consumption at our production facility in Arnhem, have been reduced with 42% from 2012 to 2014 (as also published in our annual report).
Local wood sourcing
We are conducting various studies to better understand and further reduce the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions caused by our timber sourcing and to help our customers and other stakeholders to make more informed decisions.
Radiata Pine, sourced from a variety of locations, is the species mainly used to produce Accoya®. The Timber Transport CO2 Calculator shows that, although the intercontinental transport distance may be high, in many instances the annual transport emissions of acetylated Radiata Pine are competitive when compared competing continentally-sourced timber species, such as Western Red Cedar (USA), as the graph below shows. This is due to the efficient low emissions transport used (sea transport), low weight, and lifespan improvement through acetylation. For more detailed background information please refer to the calculator.
Figure: Comparison of the greenhouse gas emissions for the transport of Accoya® made from Radiata Pine from New Zealand and Western Red Cedar from Washington State USA, divided by the expected lifespan (20 years for WRC, 50 years for Accoya®).
Annual transport emissions
Kg c02 eq/yr
Western Red Cedar
Nevertheless, we are currently engaged in comprehensive species testing with the end goal of being able to commercially acetylate the species that are most local to any of our current and potential licensees, wherever they may be in the world. That means reducing the need for transporting raw wood and therefore reducing our carbon footprint further still.
In the near future a number of commercial acetylation facilities, under license from Accsys Technologies, will be established worldwide. These facilities will also be based upon the acetylation of local, fast-growing softwood species. This should further improve the environmental sustainability of Accoya®through local wood sourcing.