As part of the WoTIM project (Wood-based Thermal Insulation Materials), VTT
Technical Research Centre of Finland is developing wood fibre-based insulation
materials and sprayable insulation foams with enhanced product features. The
new materials will enable mass production of high-quality insulation products,
which will replace products made of non-renewable or poorly recyclable raw
materials. Use of wood-based material will lower energy consumption at the
production stage, as well as reducing the products' carbon footprint.
The Thermal Insulation Manufacturers and Suppliers Association (TIMSA) states
that, of the various insulation materials, polyurethane foams have the highest
and cellulose insulation materials the lowest environmental impact. From the
environmental and sustainability point of view, the use of wood fibre-based
insulation products should therefore be increased.
The WoTIM project involves the development of foam technique-based production
methods in order to create high-quality wood-based thermal insulation panels
and in-situ spray-on insulation materials.
Better thermal insulation, fewer health hazards
The project aims to raise the overall performance of wood-based insulation to
the same level as that of polyurethane insulation. The insulation properties
of cellulosic materials can be improved by using foam-like structures to
create closed-like air pockets in the material.
Because the raw materials of plastic-based in-situ spray-on polyisocyanurates
and polyurethanes (PIR and PUR) contain hazardous components, insulation
workers must wear protective respirator masks and protect their skin during
installation work. In contrast, the spray-on cellulosic foam to be developed
by the WoTIM project will involve no health hazards, either during or after
Within the EU, there are good market opportunities for producers of new
insulation materials. Innovative companies in particular tend to be early
adopters of new solutions.
The following organisations are participating in the WoTIM project: VTT, Stora
Enso, Ekovilla, Neovo Solutions and Interenergy from Finland, Innventia and
Holmen from Sweden and Soprema and FCBA from France. The project is being
coordinated by Senior Scientist Petri Jetsu of VTT and it has a total budget
of EUR 1.46 million for the project period 1 January 2014–31 December 2016.
Finland's contribution is funded by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology
and Innovation Tekes and the participating organisations.
Wood-based insulation panel structures. (Photo: Marjo Järvinen)