22 / 04 / 2022
Belgian market leader in ThermoWood® continues expansion in Port of Ostend
ThermoWood® is on the rise. People increasingly prefer to use thermally modified timber from fast-growing, often local, species rather than tropical hardwood for cladding their façades.
LDCwood, Belgium’s only producer of ThermoWood® based in Ostend, also noticed this. Despite supply shortages and challenging market conditions, they doubled their annual production capacity from 7,000 m3 to 15,000 m3.
You might be wondering what ThermoWood® is. It is an entirely natural preservation technique that does not involve the addition of chemicals. For some types of timber, it can even increase the Durability Class to Class I. Finland, the home of timber construction, is the founder of ThermoWood®. The process is patented by the “International ThermoWood® Association”.
The considerable advantage of transforming local, fast-growing wood species into highly durable products has caused a market shift in timber façade cladding in Western and Northern Europe. ThermoWood®, with or without fire-retardant treatment, has become a popular choice among architects because it requires no maintenance and is resistant to moisture and insects.
ThermoWood® is on the rise. Proof of this is LDCwood, the Belgian pioneer and market leader when it comes to the production of ThermoWood® and a member of the International ThermoWood® Association since its foundation.
They started five years ago, in 2017, with two furnaces in the port of Ostend, followed by a third one a year later. Now they are doubling their capacity with the construction of three new furnaces, which brings the annual capacity to 15,000 m3.
Mike Lemahieu, M.D. of LDCwood: “In 2017, we took a bit of a leap of faith. “We” are Lemahieu Group and Decolvenaere Houtimport from Ghent, the two companies that set up LDCwood. Drawing on our experience in the timber sector and with a strong belief in sustainability, we first started modifying ayous. This was soon followed by other wood species such as spruce, pine, ash, fraké, and poplar. We recently also carried out successful tests with radiata pine.”
However, as with other building materials, the timber sector is also experiencing supply shortages, rising prices, and uncertain prospects. Fortunately, they keep their heads cool in Ostend: “I don’t have a crystal ball, but this is not the first crisis I have experienced in the timber sector, nor will it be the last. I am convinced that the market will recover. Meanwhile, we will keep going and innovating. Customer service is a key issue for us, and in fact, we are organising a special treat for our customers. We’re throwing a great party for all our customers from home and abroad. We are expecting around 500 people. With KIITOS, which means ‘thank you’ in Finnish, we would like to thank our customers for their trust and great cooperation over the past and coming years.”