With its focus on "Green Material Processing", LIGNA 2023 is setting an important signal for the development of international sustainability strategies. As the world marketplace for the wood industry, it is the ideal place for this. After all, in the process technologies of the bioeconomy, which ensure the efficient conversion of biological raw materials into high-quality products, the woodworking and processing industry is increasingly becoming the most important player. LIGNA 2023 will do justice to this development by focusing on green material processing and offering the industry's enablers a globally respected forum.

European Green Deal: Grasping the challenges as an opportunity

Against the backdrop of the European Green Deal, the European Commission's comprehensive plan to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050, the woodworking and wood processing industry is facing extraordinary challenges as a result of the developments to be made. LIGNA 2023 will help to highlight the opportunities that lie ahead and identify possible solutions. After all, if the Green Deal means the wood industry has to make its practices and processes more environmentally friendly in order to meet climate targets, it will also benefit from rising demand for wood-based products, which are seen as a sustainable alternative to conventional materials. In addition, the Green Deal opens up funding opportunities for companies that develop and adopt environmentally friendly processes and technologies.

Increased use of sustainably sourced wood resources

Not only building materials and furniture, but more and more products from all areas of life can be made from sustainably sourced wood resources. Here, the potential that lies in the production of biochemicals from wood plays a decisive role. By using enzymes and microorganisms, valuable chemical raw materials can be obtained from wood components such as cellulose and lignin for the production of bioplastics, textile fibers and other biobased products. Last but not least, the use of wood waste and residues as raw materials for the production of bioenergy is also an important area of the wood processing industry

The defining topic area of the next years and decades

"Processes - and the necessary machinery and equipment for them - of the circular, wood-based bioeconomy will be the defining topic area of the coming years and decades," also predicts Prof. Dr. Matthias Zscheile from the Faculty of Wood Technology and Construction at the Rosenheim University of Applied Sciences (TH). Zscheile will be a speaker and moderator at various events at LIGNA 2023, and the TH Rosenheim will also be extensively addressing the circular, wood-based bioeconomy. "For me, LIGNA has always been the most important event in the industry in terms of professional development, inspirational stimulation and cultivating contacts," says Zscheile, who is coming to Hannover with great expectations after the pandemic-related break: "I am again very much looking forward to the next LIGNA in presence in Hannover! The raw material wood is the renewable raw material available in the largest quantities worldwide, with a very large potential of diverse traditional, but also new material and energy applications. These must be opened up further, and efficient and regionally effective value chains must continue to be developed. There is an almost inexhaustible pool of tasks to be solved here. Issues of resource and energy efficiency in the context of the circular wood-based bioeconomy will become all the more important as more applications for the raw material wood are generated and implemented. In this respect, new processes and products with minimized, highly efficient, optimized material use will take on a dominant role in the foreseeable future," expects the internationally renowned expert for the assessment and evaluation of processes in industrial wood processing.

All players in the woodworking and wood processing industry are needed

According to a recent publication on the wood-based bioeconomy by acatech (German Academy of Science and Engineering), the "almost inexhaustible pool of tasks to be solved" described by Zscheile includes not only securing the primary raw material base in the long term by rewarding sustainable forest management and the economical and efficient use of wood, as well as strengthening the circular economy and cascade use, but also strengthening the acceptance of material-based, innovative wood-based applications, innovative wood-based applications, the provision of transparent information, the optimization of funding requirements, the establishment of material, innovative wood-based applications, the coherent further development of legal framework conditions and, last but not least, the generation of viable bioeconomic business models that challenge common consumption patterns. So basically all the key players in the woodworking and processing industry face the challenge of bringing about nothing less than a paradigm shift.

Exhibitors at LIGNA 2023 take up the challenge

These players include, for example, companies such as Siempelkamp and Jowat, which, like many other innovative players in the woodworking and processing industry, will be demonstrating at LIGNA 2023 how a sustainable circular economy can be given a boost. Siempelkamp, specializing in the production of plants for the wood-based materials industry, for example, will present recycling solutions for reuse in Hanover in order to be able to process wood waste efficiently and sustainably into new wood products. Jowat, a leading manufacturer of adhesives with a long tradition of sustainability, is coming to LIGNA 2023 - as one of now many suppliers of bio-based products - with adhesives based on sustainable raw materials such as vegetable oils. These adhesives also help to strengthen the circular economy, as they are made from renewable resources and have a lower environmental impact when disposed of than conventional adhesives.

Awareness of the sustainable use of wood is growing

The woodworking and wood processing industry is thus offering solutions on a broad front to the challenges described, for example, by the University of Kassel last summer in a study published jointly with the World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) entitled "Everything from wood - raw material of the future or coming crisis - approaches to a balanced bioeconomy": At 4.3 to five billion cubic meters per year, the study said, global consumption of wood is currently significantly higher than the three billion cubic meters per year that can truly be sustainably harvested from forests. The conclusion is that the use of wood urgently needs to be steered in a new direction. And indeed, much is currently changing for the better: The use of green technologies and processes in the woodworking industry aimed at reducing the use of chemicals and waste is steadily increasing, digitalization and automation are further boosting efficiency and productivity, and new process technologies are being developed that allow wood to be used in new applications, especially in the construction industry, but also in the transportation sector, and of course awareness of the sustainable use of wood and other natural resources continues to grow - LIGNA 2023 will also make an important contribution to this with its focus theme "Green Material Processing" and put its global reach at the service of sustainable positive change.