Part Funded by H2020 SME Instrument, Jan 2019 – June 2019

MDFR was pleased to win a €50k award from the SME Instrument (Phase 1), which supports smaller businesses across the EU to develop their ideas and shape them for future market uptake. Competition is fierce for these grants and success rates can be as low as 1 in 20, meaning that MDFR’s approach to introducing closed loop recycling into the MDF supply chain was considered to be among the best ideas in Europe.


September 2019 Update

Project MataDOR was completed at the end of June 2019. A comprehensive report was compiled and submitted to the European Commission at the end of August 2019. We are pleased to say that this report was accepted, thereby offering MDFR the opportunity to proceed to a Phase 2 application within the Enhanced EIC Accelerator Pilot for up to €2.5M of further funding. This is a highly competitive process that, if successful, will provide significant funds to support MDFR’s commercialisation process.

Non-Confidential Project Summary

Medium density fibreboard (MDF) is a single-use mass product that can be found in every interior space worldwide, in kitchens, furniture, offices, shop fittings and DIY. It is an engineered wood-based panel consisting of refined virgin wood fibres with synthetic glue, wax and a decorative overlay. Production of MDF is global including within 21 EU states. It equates to more than 100M m3 every year (>75M tons), an equivalent to the volume nearly 40 times the Pyramid of Cheops (2.58M m3). The manufacturing process is complex and since the uptake of mass production in the 1980s, MDF has been considered unrecyclable, as all previous efforts to recycle end-of-life MDF and recover the high value wood fibres turned out to be technically and economically unfeasible. According to actual figures, the unexploited volume of this secondary raw material in EU is in the range of 2.6M tons to 3.9M tons annually. Common waste disposal routes for waste MDF are landfilling or burning, generating atmospheric emissions of 250kt CO2 p.a. in the EU, thereby discarding the carbon stock potential of wood to mitigate climate change.

MDF Recovery Ltd (“MDFR”) has developed the world’s first commercially viable process (the MDFR technology) for recycling waste MDF. Experts in the fields of thermal engineering, process engineering and wood science have carried out this work. The MDFR technology breaks waste MDF down into its original components. The majority of this output is wood fibre, which can be used in a range of industries hungry for this material, at a cost which is considerably less than the equivalent virgin material. All glues and additives removed from the waste MDF are managed via proven treatment techniques with process water re-used on site.

The opportunities for this technology are significant, with a worldwide demand for the introduction of Closed Loop Recycling into this sector. The MDFR technology will positively disrupt the existing linear supply chain and demonstrate a Circular approach to future MDF manufacturing, a sector that produces 75M tons of product per year at a value of €32BN.

The work of the SME Instrument Phase 1 project “MataDOR” ranged from a technical, market, economic as well as IPR assessment to the definition of a Business Plan. The main aim – based on extensive investigation – was to evaluate the potential of the innovation to support the decision-making and define the MataDOR business plan for a subsequent SME Instrument phase 2 application.