Water-Based Timber Treatment: Using Harvested Rainwater

Alternatives to solvent-based treatments can help with push to decarbonisation

Fri 09 Dec 22


Long-time timber treatment specialist and modern-day wood preservation pioneer Gerry Gardiner has introduced new highly-patented technology with outstanding environmental credentials at his ITreat Timber facility at Narangba north of Brisbane.

Mr Gardiner was instrumental in attracting and encouraging global wood protection company Kop-Coat Protection Products (KCPP) to share its patented technology with the Australian timber industry.

This continues today at ITreat Timber with founder and managing director Gerry Gardiner still significantly involved in the market development of this technology.

Finally, an alternative to solvent-based timber treatments

Now, some 12 years later, and with several licensees in place, and no know failures, Mr Gardiner reflects on what this means to the timber Industry, the consumer – and most significantly the environment.

Gerry Gardiner… in an Industry that already has outstanding credentials this goes a step further in enhancing our value to the environment.

“The use of TRU-CORE has had a significant input into the decarbonising of some timber treatments,” he said.

“In an Industry that already has outstanding credentials this goes a step further in enhancing our value to the environment.”

While he would be the first to admit he has distributed train loads of solvent-treated timber products over his 40-plus years in the industry, it was while investigating TRU-CORE that he accepted there may be an alternative process and a great opportunity.

KCPP has supplied ITreat Timber with low-moisture uptake water-based technology for 12 years. Kop-Coat is constantly reviewing this technology to assess whether any evolutionary and/or revolutionary enhancements can be made and applications that can be developed.

Footage courtesy of @kopcoat8094
Every solution needs to be fit-for-purpose

Part of this development is to consider each client’s needs, which includes timber species and product type.

“As a result, each program developed has a unique aspect to it,” says Mr Gardiner.

“It’s certainly not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach. This is evident in the fact that Pacific Wood Tech in the US is treating all veneers in its LVL products.”

The process treats the finished product, not individual veneers, through a process where the active chemicals are released from the glue resin through the hot press application.

Now looking back and gauging the volumes of TRU-CORE-treated product compared to a mineral spirit hydrocarbon solvent-based process, Mr Gardiner believes there has been a swing to the water-based process by an estimated 25-30% – often utilising harvested rain water.

“What is of particular interest is that this volume, estimated to be 10,000 cub m a month, represents a reduction in the use of solvent by about 400,000 litres a month.

“With a little bit of desk-top research, this equates to 3000 motor cars in Australia, being removed from our roads each and every month.”

[Mr Gardiner notes this is a broad assessment as there are differences between solvent and diesel and unleaded fuels].

He says there has been much talk about EVs, including the development of EV trucks, being introduced into the industry.

“This is certainly one way that will assist in decarbonising our sector. However, these conversions have a very long ‘pay back’ time in the reduction of carbon.

“The transition from solvent-based carriers to water-based carriers is immediate – for every 500 cub m converted to TRU-CORE from LOSP represents an estimated, further 130 cars off the road,” Mr Gardiner concluded.

Key Features of TRU-CORE
  • It is a positive for the environment.
  • Water-based low-moisture uptake technology.
  • Available on the NZ market for 20 years.
  • Available in Australia for 12 years.
  • Process well proven with no known failures.
  • Exceeds the requirements of Standard AS1604.
  • CodeMark recognised.
  • Comes with a 50-year guarantee.
  • Includes ‘dimensional stabilisers’ to reduce movement, such as twist and bow.
  • Can be applied in an autoclave, by spray/flood application, or in a dip tank.
  • KCPP has undertaken significant research, testing and field trials.
  • KCPP has amassed volumes of data on the performance of its products.
  • KCPP is constantly reviewing and developing its technologies

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