Wood damaged by bark beetles can replace cotton
Wood damaged by bark beetles can be converted into fiber that can replace cotton. It can also be used in the chemical industry or as biofuel.
Joseph Samec and Aji Mathew, professors of chemistry at Stockholm University and researchers within Mistra SafeChem, lead a project with the goal of creating a textile fiber from bark-beetle-damaged wood. Now, Stockholm University has published a news article about this successful work.
In a scientific article, the researchers show that bark-beetle-damaged wood can generate high-quality fiber. It can replace cotton for several functions within, among other things, healthcare. At the same time, it is possible to produce environmentally friendly (or green) chemicals that can be used in the chemical industry or as biofuel, for example for air transport. This chemical innovation can enable new areas of application for damaged wood.
Two years ago, Mistra SafeChem published an interview with Joseph Samec where he stated his hopes for the research:
"We have succeeded to make dissolving pulp for fibre from bark beetle infected spruce that has the quality for regeneration. Now we will scale up and make fibre from it, which later may be used to make clothes. We are very happy with it!"
And now it is clear that this residual stream from the forest can generate a high-quality fiber which is significantly lower than cotton regarding water consumption, climate change, land use and resource use.
Read the scientific article: Valorization of beetle infected spruce to produce textile fibers and biofuels: Environmental sustainability evaluated by life cycle assessment External link, opens in new window.