Chief Executive Officer
Location: Oslo, Norway
Number of employees: 60
Year founded: 1997
Kebony has developed a process that makes softwood look and act like hardwood, without the use of toxic chemicals. Kebony’s technology offers a sustainable, environmentally-friendly alternative to tropical hardwood, the demand for which is one of the main drivers of rainforest destruction.
The process – called kebonization – involves impregnating softwood with furfuryl alcohol, a natural waste product of agricultural crops including sugar cane and corn. The wood is then heated, causing a chemical reaction that changes its cells permanently. The resulting product – Kebony – is nontoxic, biologically inert and exceptionally resistant to weather, wear and decay, meaning it requires no maintenance beyond normal cleaning.
Kebony is comparable in price to hardwoods of similar quality. It is more expensive than softwoods treated with traditional methods using toxic chemicals, but it will last longer without maintenance –from a life cycle perspective, it is significantly more cost-effective.
While Kebony can replace tropical hardwood in any kind of use, from boats to furniture, it is initially being marketed primarily for the high-volume applications of cladding and decking.
Kebony’s factory in Norway has proved the concept of the technology with fast-growing sales primarily in Scandinavia and Western Europe. Kebony is currently in the process of licensing its technology to softwood producers around the world.