Swiss Wood Solutions

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The SWS Team in 2018

Swiss Wood Solutions was founded in 2016 as a spin-off from ETH Zurich and Empa.

We are driven by the belief that wood can fulfill more needs than it currently does. The team fuses the vast knowledge of scientists with diverse educational backgrounds. The team members combine for a unique and complementary set of scientific, technical and commercial skills.

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Our team

  • Oliver Klaeusler

    Dr. Oliver Kläusler


    has studied wood science and technology at the University of Hamburg and wrote his thesis at ETH Zurich. Subsequently, he worked as an R&D engineer and project manager in the wood industry in Switzerland, the Czech Republic and the United States. He is the main inventor and developer of the production technologies for two Beaufort products for Audi cars. Oliver Kläusler then received his PhD in the field of high-performance bonded wooden joints for wood constructions from ETH Zurich. Following his promotion, he ran a research group at Empa Dübendorf and ETH Zurich. Oliver Kläusler is Co-founder of Swiss Wood Solutions and its first CEO.
    Tel. +41 79 819 72 77

  • Munish Chanana

    Dr. Munish Chanana

    Co-CEO and Head of R&D

    studied chemistry at the University of Münster, Germany, and later received his PhD from the Max Planck Institute in Potsdam, Germany. He acquired profound research experience in hierarchical biological materials, chemical synthesis and physical chemistry of interfaces. Prior to his engagement at Swiss Wood Solutions, Munish Chanana led the group of Hierarchical Nano-Bio Materials at the Institute for Building Materials at ETH Zurich. Munish Chanana is Co-founder of Swiss Wood Solutions and, as Head of R&D, develops new physicochemical modification approaches of wood.

    Tel. +41 76 688 70 02 (CH)
    Tel. +49 176 63 00 44 09 (D)

  • Walter Sonderegger

    Dr. Walter Sonderegger

    Quality management

    studied forest science at ETH Zurich and earned his doctorate there. Subsequently, he worked at the Institute for Building Materials at ETH as a forest engineer for several decades. Walter Sonderegger has acquired profound knowledge in wood mechanics, wood physics and hydrothermal compression methods. Furthermore, he has released numerous research articles in scientific journals and reference books on wood.

  • Philipp Hass

    Dr. Philipp Hass

    CTO and production manager

    studied process engineering with focus on wood and fiber material technology at the University of Technology in Dresden (Germany) and later received his PhD from ETH Zurich. In combination with an apprenticeship as carpenter, he acquired both practical and theoretical wood processing skills. Prior to his engagement at Swiss Wood Solutions, Philipp Hass worked in a postdoctoral position at ETH Zurich and at Empa Dübendorf.

  • Luca Schelbli

    Luca Schelbli

    R&D engineer

    has studied chemistry and business studies at the University of Zurich and Louisiana State University (USA). In his position as R&D specialist, he works on the development of new physicochemical modification approaches of wood. Furthermore, he supports the commercialization of the developed processes and manages the distribution channels. Luca Schelbli is charge of the online presence and supervises student papers.
    Tel. +41 44 633 62 12

  • Karsten Leuker

    Karsten Leuker

    Sales manager

    studied wood science and technology at the University of Hamburg (Germany). Thanks to prior sales positions in the wood industry, he has established a far-reaching network of business contacts including manufacturers and customers of wooden products. At Swiss Wood Solutions, Karsten Leuker is in charge of the distribution channels and engages in close customer interaction.
    Tel. +41 76 205 77 04 (CH)
    Tel. +49 174 39 19 564 (D)


All of our team members have worked at ETH and/or Empa prior to their engagement at Swiss Wood Solutions. ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) is a globally leading science university and constantly ranks among the top universities worldwide. Empa (Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology) is an interdisciplinary Swiss research institute for applied materials science with various campuses across Switzerland. We are in the advantageous position to benefit from infrastructural, technical and know-how support from these two Swiss institutions. Regardless, Swiss Wood Solutions acts as an independent company and holds its own intellectual property rights.

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  • logo empa spinoff

In addition to ETH Zurich and Empa, we cooperate with further public and private institutions to carry out R&D projects.

TEEWood project with Horizon 2020

To build up on the promising results from the two projects sponsored by Gebert Rüf, Swiss Wood Solutions aspires to scale up the technology to produce wood for larger stringed instruments such as guitars and cellos. In addition, SWS aims to evaluate production for percussion instruments and expand the application fields of the technology to wooden sports equipment. For this purpose, SWS filed an application for financial support by the European research and innovation program Horizon 2020. Created and financed by the European Union, Horizon 2020 couples research and innovation to tackle societal challenges and deliver economic growth. For promising science projects and derived business ideas, nearly 80 billion of funding are available from 2014 to 2020.

In cooperation with accelopment a service provider specialized on applications for public funding programs, SWS filed a submission titled TEEWood (Technologically Enhanced European Wood for Substituting Endangered Tropical Woods). With the constructive help of accelopment, SWS completed the highly complex and time-consuming application process in October 2017. To our greatest delight, the submission was approved and the company received a grant of 1.5 million. Proof of competitive product properties, promising market opportunities and growth potential helped secure the funds starting in February 2018 and running through January 2020.

The upscale of the developed technology targeted in the TEEWood project with Horizon 2020 is expected to bear a range of impacts. Most importantly, the project is expected to solve the raw material scarcity problem of tropical wood-dependent industries such as the musical instrument industry. At the same, the customer benefits from a high performance material with custom-made physical properties, which comes along without any ethical issues and trade restrictions. Ecologically, a successful TEEWood project will make a precious contribution to save botanical diversity and enhance sustainable forestry in tropical areas. On a global political level, the project targets to reduce the incentives for illegal overexploitation of tropical forests as well as for piracy and corruption in affected countries. From a cultural perspective, the TEEWood project is expected to save the traditional instrument manufacturing profession by providing a suitable and legal raw material.

More on the TEEWood project >

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Swiss Ebony project with the Gebert Rüf Foundation

Since March 2016 Swiss Wood Solutions has been financially supported by the Gebert Rüf Foundation. The private funding agency aims to boost entrepreneurial projects in Switzerland, which are committed to achieve an impact in current science and innovation challenges. Gebert Rüf has funded two projects at Swiss Wood Solutions. In the Swiss Ebony project, SWS succeeded to achieve dimensional stability of densified wood materials. The positive experimental results delivered the proof of concept and confirmed feasibility for the application of the material in the musical instrument market.

In the Swiss Ebony II project, which is set to run until June 2018, SWS targets the fine-tuning of physical and acoustics properties of the densified wood material. The adjustability of crucial parameters such as density and sound-propagation velocity enables SWS to acquire unique selling propositions in the musical instrument market. Thanks to the generous support by Gebert Rüf, Swiss Wood Solutions has established and initiated pilot production. Technology readiness level 6 (TRL 6) has been reached, implying the accomplishment of the prototyping phase. For violins and violas, market readiness has been achieved.

Gebert Rüf Foundation >

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