RWM

11-13 September 2018   NEC Birmingham

01 Sep 2017 knowledge hub
  • | Innovation
  • |

Why is MDF Recovery’s technology a game-changer?

by: Craig Bartlett, Co-Founder and Managing Director of MDF Recovery

The retail sector is heavily reliant on MDF. It is one of the few remaining barriers to the achievement of 100% recycling rates.

What is MDFR’s technology?

We have developed a novel, patented process for the recovery of high quality wood fibres from waste Medium Density Fibreboard (MDF).

It is continuous, robust and cost-effective with potential for global exploitation.  It enhances the UK’s reputation for excellence and innovation in the timber sector and brings MDF into line with other products in terms of its long-term sustainability.

One of the beauties of the technology is its simplicity.

Waste MDF is shredded at low speed to minimise the amount of dust created and then soaked in hot water. Using ohmic technology, an electrical current is then passed across the material which, at this stage, is effectively a slurry.

Our technology allows for zero-waste manufacturing, something that is completely transformative for the MDF manufacturing industry.

This raises the MDF’s temperature and breaks apart the resin bonds. The wood fibres are dried for reuse and the waxes and resin are separated into the water, then dried and pressed for incineration. The water is reused in the continuous cleaning process.

All types of MDF can be recycled as overlays such as laminates and foils are separated in the process.

This allows MDF manufacturers to take back material from their customers and provide a closed loop solution. Our technology allows for zero-waste manufacturing, something that is completely transformative for the MDF manufacturing industry.

How big is the problem?

Each year more than 70million tonnes of MDF is produced globally, mainly to service the furniture, construction and DIY markets.

In the UK alone, around 350,000 tonnes of offcuts and discarded products are burned or dumped in landfill.

After six years’ of R&D, MDF Recovery’s world-first technology is ready for commercialisation having successfully come through extensive proof of concept trials.

Commercial pull for recycling of this problematic waste stream has been evident from all parts of the supply chain as interest in the Circular Economy widens and the demand for closed loop recycling grows.

MDF manufacturers face unprecedented increases in cost of raw materials as use of biomass for energy generation increases, in some cases this is extending to threaten security of supply as well.  Recycling waste MDF would alleviate these pressures.

The retail sector is heavily reliant on MDF for shop fittings and in-store furnishes.  It is one of the few remaining barriers to the achievement of 100% recycling rates in an industry that is often the lead in driving forward sustainability initiatives.

With such prominent CSR programmes in the public domain, it is no longer acceptable to rely on the “no waste to landfill” mantra.

Why is MDFR’s technology such a game-changer?

MDFR’s technology is a genuine world-first. It’s the only continuous process for MDF recycling.

It adopts an electrical heating method previously employed in the food industry and applies it into the globally significant panel board sector. 

Our system can be fitted into new MDF manufacturing plants or retrofitted into existing ones

Glue bonds which hold wood fibres together and provide MDF with its functionality, are broken apart allowing recovery of high quality fibres, having the same qualities and characteristics as those of virgin fibre.

Our system can be fitted into new MDF manufacturing plants or retrofitted into existing ones providing a pioneering solution for reworking waste and increasing yield at these plants.

Our technology will give a new, prolonged shelf-life for MDF with zero waste for the wood component of MDF now a very real possibility. It will also enhance the reputation of MDF as a sustainable material.

Our solution generates a new secondary material source for the natural fibre industry that displaces the need for new virgin materials. It comes at a time when demand for virgin timber from other sources intensifies.

The recovery technology could also be adopted by waste management and wood recycling companies and an insulation manufacturing plant could be added to the recovery line to produce wood fibre insulation.

What’s the market potential?

Our technology has genuine global potential. We have already successfully patented our process in European countries, Eurasia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Korea. Patents are pending in Brazil and India. China also offers huge potential - the Chinese MDF market is the same size as the total European market and the technology should be of particular appeal given the country has a limited supply of raw material.

We conservatively estimate that within five years, MDF Recovery will be a £10million-plus business, processing as much as 60,000 tonnes of UK waste and three million tonnes globally.

We are backed by Innovate UK, SUEZ Recycling and Recovery UK and a group of committed angel investors.

 

Want to find out more?

MDF Recovery will be present at RWM for all three days at Stand 4C105 

This will include a stand at Innovate UK’s Innovation City space which it will share with other leading technology businesses.

 

Hear Craig talk at RWM 2017

Craig has been invited to take part in a Circular Economy Connect discussion along with Andrew Mayo, a Senior Sector Manager at SUEZ responsible for its wood recycling activities.

 ‘Innovative solutions to achieve circularity with problematic materials’ takes place on Wednesday, September 13, at 2.25pm.

 

Innovation at RWM 

You told us you wanted to see more innovation at RWM. That’s why this year we’re bringing you Innovation City, a place where we’ll showcase the latest innovations from our sector.

Innovation City

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