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Tasmanian forestry innovation sees new bio-solvent hit the EU

Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Senator Richard Colbeck welcomed news that a world-first ‘bio-based’ alternative to fossil-fuel-based solvent developed in Tasmania is now approved for sale in the European Union. Source: Timberbiz

“The Liberal National Government provided $1.5 million to pulp and paper company Norske Skog to support the development of the non-toxic, bio-based solvent, called Cyrene™,” Minister Colbeck said.

“That funding established the feasibility of building a commercial-scale advanced manufacturing facility in Tasmania to produce platform and specialty biochemicals from certified, renewable plantation forest biomass wastes.

“The end product is Cyrene™, which is developed through the conversion of waste biomass produced at Circa Group’s large-scale prototype plant, which was built in conjunction with Norske Skog.

“The facility is the first of its kind and has created new high-skilled jobs, while also supporting the resurgence of the Tasmanian forestry sector and contribute significantly to the state’s growing economy. Like Cyrene™, products from the new facility will be destined for global export into pharma and agrichemical industries with a need to replace a range of existing toxic, fossil-derived chemicals with safer alternatives.

“The European Union is cracking down on some hazardous chemicals and approval for these new products shows how our innovative forestry industry can tap into these types of markets.

“It also demonstrates how the emerging global forest economy is creating opportunities for the Australian forest and wood products industry to use all parts of the tree to create innovative bioproducts.

“The development of new and innovative uses of timber and wood  confirms the importance of the Government’s National Forest Industries Plan.

“New uses will create new demand for timber and confirms the need to plant a billion more trees also confirms how global demand is projected to quadruple by 2050.

“To further support our industry, we recently announced a call for proposals for $4.5 million and the successful funding of $3.2 million of research projects through the National Institute for Forest Products Innovation that will drive future innovation in forestry hubs through world-class research.

“The projects will play an important role in exploring and facilitating innovation in areas such as forest management, new products and the application of advanced technologies.”