Technology Commercialization

By: Safiyyah Abdul Hamid

Project: The invasive Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) epidemic has killed tens of millions of ash trees in North America, drastically transforming entire forest ecosystems and creating a massive climate risk. Infested and dying ash trees provide an enormous and untapped resource for sustainable wood construction. In collaboration with glued laminated timber manufacturer UNALAM, RCL has developed innovative methods to reuse EAB‐infested timber. By introducing high precision robotic fabrication technology, researchers have created a material‐saving manufacturing process to transform “ash waste wood” into a useful and high‐tech engineered wood product. The SGE Intensive team will evaluate the market viability of two innovative wood products: 1) Glulam beams, an engineered wood product made of wood laminations; and 2) Cross‐Laminated‐Timber (CLT), large‐scale and prefabricated solid engineered wood panels. The team will need to evaluate the sustainability benefits and economic implications of using EAB‐infested timber (as opposed to commercially available softwoods) for current CLT and Glulam manufacturing processes, as well as the additional sustainability benefits and economic implications of utilizing the SLIM‐LAM technique, a manufacturing process developed by Cornell RCL which reduces material waste and weight of components through robotic fabrication, introducing further carbon savings and construction sustainability benefits.