The fact that the two largest brands for chemically-modifi ed wood have been expanding their production capabilities tells you something about the direction of travel with the product.

Norwegian modifi ed timber producer Kebony, which markets itself as a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, started work on its second factory in Belgium earlier this year in a €20m investment.

Its international sales have risen by an average of 35% annually for the last six years.

Its products, distributed globally, improve the properties of sustainable softwood with a bio-based liquid. The process, says Kebony, permanently modifi es the wood cell walls giving Kebony premium, hardwood characteristics.

Not to be outdone, Accsys Technologies – the name behind Accoya modifi ed wood and Tricoya wood elements (used to produce modifi ed MDF) – is also on the expansion trail via the formation of the Tricoya Consortium with BP and Medite to build the world’s fi rst Tricoya plant. Two years in planning, the site will be the world’s first dedicated Tricoya wood chip manufacturing plant.

Some €68m of funding has been agreed for the new plant to accommodate growing demand for innovative Tricoya high performance panels.

The new plant based in Saltend Chemical Park, Hull is expected to be completed by early 2019.

Accoya proved to be the material of choice for three of this year’s Architizer A+ award-winning architectural projects.

The three category winning projects included The Royal Arena, Denmark, City Hall Venlo, Netherlands, and the Tintra Footbridge, Vossevangen, Norway, with each project specifying Accoya wood due to its “ease of use, sustainable credentials, aesthetic appeal and long-lasting durability”.

The Architizer A+ Awards champion the very best architectural projects from around the globe, and celebrate industry visionaries from across the fields of design and architecture. The awards are the largest of their kind and are judged by over 400 luminaries and thought leaders.

Some 250m3 of Accoya was utilised to the entire façade at The Royal Arena in Copenhagen – jury winner in the Sport and Recreation category. This state of the art arena was built to host a variety of international arts and sporting events and was completed in late 2016.

City Hall, Venlo, Netherlands – the Jury and Popular Choice Winner in the Institutional-Government & Municipal Buildings category – was an example of applying the Cradle to Cradle design principles on a building scale. As such, the use of appropriate materials with green credentials was of the upmost importance to the designers. Accoya was used for the cladding, terraces, window frames, doors and ceilings throughout the project.

The third winner for Accoya was the Tintra Footbridge, Vossevangen, Norway – Popular Choice Winner in the Transportation Infrastructure category.

Maintenance was an important issue in the construction of this project and Accoya was used for all the vertical cladding on the footbridge.

Meanwhile, one of the most recent projects for Kebony was Blue Forest’s luxury, handcrafted tree house at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. The treehouse structure was Kebony, while cedar cladding and a copper turret were also used.

The woodland planting was set against Kebony timber decking and lining of the bench and walls, which was chosen for its “beauty, environmental credentials and hardwearing characteristics”.