Advisory Panel

MDF Recovery


Dr Knut Kappenberg

Technical Advisor

Knut has worked within R&D, innovation management and technology transfer roles for over 20 years. He spent 7 years as Global R&D Manager at Sonae Industria, one of the largest global manufacturers of wood-based panel products, where he was the recipient of the 2011 Schweighofer European Innovation Award. In addition to his native Germany, Knut has worked in Spain managing European research programmes designed to support SMEs and in Ireland where he managed the European timber industry research network Innovawood. Knut is currently the Manager for International Affairs at the Energy Research Centre of Lower Saxony (EFZN), Germany and also continues his work as a freelance innovation consultant in the forest, wood products and energy sectors. He is proficient in five European languages and has a PhD in wood science from the University of Freiburg.

Dr Rob Elias


Technical Advisor

Dr. Rob Elias is the Director of the BioComposites Centre (BC) at Bangor University. The Centre was established in 1989 and is focussed on the translation of applied science into commercial opportunity. It has been at the forefront of research, development and the commercial application of bio-based alternatives to synthetic materials in manufacturing and industry. Rob has worked at BC for 16 years. He is also the chair of the International Panel Products Symposium and has an extensive network of industrial contacts throughout the UK and EU.

Prior to his involvement with BC, Rob held senior positions in production and development at some of the largest MDF manufacturing groups in the world including Kronospan and Norbord. Rob has a major interest in the development of bio-derived materials that reduce global warming potential and his PhD, awarded by Bangor University, was on the modification of wood fibres for composite applications.

Ray Howard


Commercial Advisor

Ray Howard has accumulated in excess of 45 years of experience, predominantly within the manufacturing and related sectors. Ray had some seven years ago taken on the role of Chief Executive of a law firm whilst retaining interests of varying roles within a number of entities. The law firm has launched a full consultancy support service which he is now driving.

Prior to this and for the previous 12 years he has worked as Deputy Chief Executive of a boutique consultancy, with the emphasis on strategic growth and business transformation within industry and the financial & professional sectors, Ray has during that period in particular spent a significant amount of time supporting owner managed SME’s including pre revenue entities.

During his career Ray has held corporate and senior management positions within a diverse number of sectors, including that of MDF manufacturing. He has managed companies with turnovers ranging from £10m to £150m, whilst contributing to group growth of a major USA corporation with turnover in excess of $5 billion.

Ray possesses significant experience of acquisitions, divestments and joint venture formulation. He has considerable expertise working across a very wide spectrum of small, privately owned companies to multi-national, billion pound enterprises, giving him a unique set of credentials and proven track record of achievement.

Jonathan Grant

Commercial Advisor

Jonathan Grant joined the family Timber Importing business of W. Howard Limited in 1986 after taking his degree in Timber Technology. The Group changed direction in 1994 and is now the largest manufacturer of MDF Mouldings across Europe and, therefore, has a vested interest in recycling the product. As Group Chief Executive Jonathan drives the business forward through organic growth, product diversification and acquisition but with the main focus being on people development. As well as sitting on the Mayor of Manchester’s Business Advisory Panel, Jonathan is on the Governing Board of the Timber Trade Federation and is also investing in other diverse industries such as Biomedical Testing Equipment, Engineering and the use of Graphene in eco heating.