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Final conference of COST Action FP1407 ModWoodLife in Belgrade

Last week, the University of Belgrade – Faculty of Forestry hosted a two-day final conference of  COST Action FP1407 ModWoodLife, which brought to the Serbian capital city more than 90 participants from more than 20 countries.

Since the beginning of this COST Action in 2015, many meetings, workshops and conferences were organized where participants discussed wood modification through an integrated scientific and environmental impact approach. The main topic of the final conference in Belgrade was about living with modified wood.

Dr Goran Milić opened the conference and stated that this is an extraordinary opportunity for their faculty to establish a more visible position within the European network of wood-related institutions. Moreover, the director of the InnoRenew CoE and the chair of this COST Action, Dr Andreja Kutnar, greeted all participants: “Since the beginning of the Action, we gained and delivered important new knowledge in the field of wood modification and environmental impact assessment.”

Many researchers from the InnoRenew CoE actively participated in the conference. The research group leader of the Wood Modification group, Dr Anna Sandak, presented measurement aspects of human interaction with wood. Furthermore, she presented different strategies for improvement of visibility and acceptance of modified wood through her poster. Our assistant researcher, Dean Lipovac, shared results of his research where he found that modified wood can indeed compete with untreated wood regarding the preferences of people.

In the session dedicated to novel modification technologies, our researcher, Dr Kelly Peeters, provided a review on wood modification techniques based on cell wall bulking with non-toxic chemical reagents. This session concluded with Dr Matthew Schwarzkopf’s talk on the connection between wood protection and the olive industry.

Short-term scientific missions (STSM) are an important part of COST Actions, which, among other things, allow scientists to visit an institution or laboratory in another COST Member state. Dr Václav Sebera completed a STSM where he experimentally and numerically analysed the fracture toughness of thermally modified beech wood in mode II.

The second day was dedicated to a poster session. Posters from two of our researchers, Dr Laetitia Marrot and Jaka Pečnik, were among the 25 presented. Dr Marrot presented a preliminary study consisting of producing mycelium-based composites. These materials are fully renewable and can be optimized for various applications (packaging, thermal insulation, etc.). The results are encouraging, and Dr Marrot believes that further research is needed to fully develop bio-based materials. Jaka Pečnik showcased the thermo-hydro mechanical densification process of two main wood species typical of the southern part of Argentina, Nothofagus pumilio and Nothofagus antarctica.

Jaka Pečnik, Dr Anna Sandak, Dr Laetitia Marrot. Image: the InnoRenew CoE

Dr Andreja Kutnar is sure that even if this is the last conference of FP1407, the established networks and cooperation will continue in the future: “We must go on and keep jointly contributing to close the loop of product life cycles through greater recycling and re-use and bring benefits for both the environment and the economy.”

The final meeting of the COST Action FP1407 will be organized at the beginning of the next year in Koper.

See you there!