Advisory Panel

MDF Recovery

Duncan Mayes

Advisor to the Board

Duncan Mayes has worked within the International forest and wood products Industry for over 25 years. He has built significant experience at the leading Forest Industry giant Stora Enso. He worked in a variety of roles from Product & Sales Management in the Wood Products Division, Head of new wood modification technologies unit, Managing Director of Stora Enso Wood Products Australia, SVP of Strategy and Innovation and VP Group R&D specialising in the in the fields of composite materials development and bio refinery from lignocellulosic materials.

More recently Duncan worked with Australian Wood Products company Timberlink Australia in Melbourne, (A NewForests Asset Fund Company) helping them to develop an innovation pathway including the recently announced investment in Cross laminated timber and glulam production in South Australia.

In mid-2020 Duncan returned to his family home in Helsinki, Finland where he has established his own specialist consulting and advocacy firm, Lignutech Oy Ltd. In this role he is supporting a variety of European and International clients both commercial and institutional in the field of renewable materials technologies and markets with a high focus on circular economy solutions, primarily utilising ligno-cellulosic materials.

Duncan has built up an extensive global network in research and industry and sits on several start-up company boards and chairs the Council of Experts Group of the EU/Slovenian/German supported research Institute InnoRenew Centre of Excellence, Izola, Slovenia.
Duncan has an educational background in Wood Technology and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Aalto University, Finland and has also specialised in Innovation Management and Strategy during a period at IMD, Switzerland.


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.

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.