Products from new Saltend facility set to "revolutionise" the construction industry
BUILDING REVOLUTION: Members of the consortium formed by Accsys Technologies to build, fund and operate the world's first wood chip acetylation plant at Saltend Chemicals Park
By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 19 Jul 2017
THE chief executive of the company behind a pioneering wood chip plant being built in Hull says he expects the products being created will revolutionise architecture across the globe.
This week, a ground-breaking ceremony marked a major milestone in the creation of Tricoya Technologies Ltd’s wood chip acetylation plant at Saltend Chemicals Park.
The facility will manufacture acetylated wood chips, which will be used to make ultra-durable, non- toxic MDF panels, which, unlike traditional MDF panels, can be used for external construction.
Scheduled to open in early 2019, the new plant is being funded, built and operated by a consortium comprising Accsys Technologies PLC, BP Ventures, BP Acetyls, Medite and Business Growth Fund, among others.
The development will create 130 jobs during the construction phase. Once operational, the plant will employ 30 permanent members of staff.
But Paul Clegg, chief executive of Accsys Technologies PLC, says he expects this number to grow as demand for products grows.
He said: “This is very much a global product that is being produced in Hull. We hope to expand further in Hull in the future.
“That expansion could be two or three times the initial size. It is a long way down the road, but if all goes to plan there will undoubtedly be the potential for more jobs.”
Water and microbe damage, which can lead to swelling and rot, means decorative MDF panels are traditionally limited to interior furniture.
However, the new Hull plant will change wood chips at a molecular level, treating them with an acetylation process that makes the end products impervious to water and microbes and means they can be employed in applications formerly limited to products such as concrete, plastics or metals.
It is this durability and stability that Mr Clegg believes will capture the imagination of architects and designers worldwide.
He said: “This has so many potential uses, from soffits, cladding and doors to bathrooms, swimming pools and signs.
“We believe in the future there will be many million cubic metres of panels across the world that have been created using products from the Hull plant.
“We are launching the product this week in Las Vegas and over the coming months, will be at up to 15 trade shows worldwide.
“This is the beginning of what we believe is a very exciting long growth period for the product and for Hull.
“We are now recruiting in Hull for a key role and expect more to follow.”
The company is seeking to appoint an experienced plant manager, who will be heavily involved in the project management of the construction phase, as well as ensuring the right team is recruited.
Pierre Lasson, general manager of the Hull plant, said: “The construction of this plant is very positive news for local development.
“Over and above the funding from the consortium, it has received additional support and funding from Green Port Growth Programme and the EU Life programme. We already have a proven market for the product, so now is an exciting time to come on board.”
Joe Makin, specialist engineering recruiter at Emmerson Kitney, the firm partnering with Accsys for the key appointment, said: “This is a career-defining role for an experienced plant manager. It is one of a handful of roles that have come up in the area in recent years at this level.”