Using the wood of oil palms isn't just a good idea because wood supplies from traditional sources are declining and demand for wood products is rising. In fact, studies and pilot projects on using the wood of oil palms have highlighted impressive technical and economic potential. All the same, there has so far been a distinct lack of machinery, tools and processes designed and optimized specifically for utilizing and processing oil palm wood.
The overarching aim of the international "PalmwoodNet" network is therefore to make sure the wood of non-productive oil palms - an abundant but as-yet largely untapped resource - is put to the best possible use to manufacture marketable products that boast high added value. Such products include single- and multi-layered solid wood panels, cross-banded lumber veneered boards, glued laminated timber in standard dimensions and cross-laminated timber (CLT) in the key countries of Thailand and Malaysia. As part of the project, a comprehensive set of principles for the sustainable use of oil palm wood is now to be created that accounts for technical, economical, ecological and social considerations. The ambitious underlying aims include conserving resources and rainforests, tackling climate change and generating and safeguarding jobs and incomes in the resource countries. Tapping into new sales regions is also on the agenda. The "PalmwoodNet" network follows a multi-stakeholder approach and includes four other companies besides Leitz GmbH & Co. KG, namely Jowat SE, Minda Industrieanlagen GmbH, Möhringer Anlagenbau GmbH and Boehlerit GmbH & Co. KG. Various German universities and other industry partners will also be undertaking specific development work and implementation tasks for the network.