Clean nature and a healthy environment for next generation
In Sweden alone, thousands of tons of toxic, non-degradable impregnants, of which no one has control, are used every year. This means a net addition of toxic substances that future generations will have to take care of. There is also a large number of impregnation facilities on polluted ground. These must eventually be decontaminated at very high costs, often at the expense of the taxpayers. In order not to worsen the situation, new ways of impregnating wood must be found.
If we want to increase the durability of wood without at the same time making it poisonous, other means must be found. Anyone who works with wood knows that its worst enemy is moisture. By making the wood less sensitive to moisture, its durability can be substantially increased.
For nearly 20 years, Linotech has developed and manufactured environmental-friendly paints and impregnation oils under the label Kulturhantverkarna, a name that has become a concept in the field of Swedish building preservation. For the last 10 years, we have also been working with the development of a new method for wood impregnation, known as the Linotech method.
After an intensive development phase, the company now faces an expansive commercialisation of our environment-friendly impregnation process and its associated impregnation agent, LINOGARD. We are now striving to become a major supplier in the area of environment-friendly wood protection.
Our patents are approved in Sweden and in a large number of other markets around the globe. The setting up of a commercial pilot plant has allowed us to show our process to costumers. We got the opportunity in 2004 to convert a large commercial impregnation plant from water-based toxic impregnation into impregnation with LINOGARD. The plant can produce timber for outdoor constructions, for example duckboards, fences, staircases, etc.
Within the European Union, sales of CCA-impregnated wood (wood impregnated with copper, chromium and arsenic) to the consumer is prohibited as of July 1, 2004. The demand for our product will increase and its future potential is high.
Traditional impregnation techniques are based on pressure impregnation with toxic substances, like chromium, cupper, and arsenic salts, that accumulate in nature. Creosote oil, which is more easily degraded but at the same time more carcinogenic, is also used in traditional impregnation.
The Swedish Chemicals Inspectorate (the supervising authority in Sweden) has indicated that these products will be banned as soon as alternatives are available. (This is according to the “substitution principle” of the environmental legislation.)
Public players, such as municipalities and county councils, have in several cases banned the use of toxic impregnated timber at, for instance, playgrounds. In some cases, bans have been imposed even more strictly.
Based on the environmental legislation’s increasing demands for more environment-friendly impregnation methods, we estimate that the market potential is very high for the Linotech method. Legislation within Sweden and the EU has contributed to the banning of some toxic impregnation substances. Within the EU, sales of creosote- and arsenic-impregnated timber to the consumers have been prohibited. The next active substance subject to investigation is cupper.
Some Swedish municipalities have imposed an environment fee of ca 2,000 SEK/m3 for deposition of toxic impregnated timber. Within the EU, a ban concerning the sales of arsenic-impregnated timber to the consumers came into effect on July 1, 2004.
Arsenic-impregnated timber is now classified as hazardous to the environment. This trend can be expected to continue since toxic impregnated wood can only be burnt at special incineration plants. The additional cost for this has not yet affected the producers of toxic impregnated wood, which is likely to happen should product liability be applied. As a consequence, prices for users and consumers will go up which, in turn, will be favourable to environment-friendly alternatives such as Linogard impregnation.
The qualities of the Linotech method open up for a completely new form of product development where the impregnation constitutes a base for painting. The impregnated wood is long-term maintenance free regarding rot protection and can easily be given a “face lift”. The method allows for improved mechanical strength of the timber giving it an increased utility value.
Examples of new products are ready-made noise barriers, duckboards for outdoor use, terraces, jetties, rot-protected and prime-coated outdoor panels, non-toxic and rot-protected climbing frames for playgrounds, window-frame components, staircase banisters, garden furniture, window and door cases, etc.