'Biofoambark' project wins prizes

Published: November 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Related to this story

Topics Materials, Suppliers

FREIBURG, GERMANY (Nov. 2, 4:15 p.m. ET)  — A project at the Freiburg Materials Research Center which aims to produce insulating foam using extracts from tree bark has won prizes for the scientists involved.

Leader of the project professor Marie-Pierre Laborie from the Faculty of Forest and Environmental Sciences of the University of Freiburg has been named “German High Tech Champion,” by the Fraunhofer Association in the category “Green Buildings.”

Laborie will receive 15,000 euro ($19,500) together with colleagues professors Antonio Pizzi and Alain Celzard from the French Université de Lorraine.

The prize will be awarded at Pollutec 2012, an international trade fair for environmental equipment, technology, and services, being held Nov. 27-30 in Lyon, France.

A statement from the Freiburg center says that Laborie’s research team make hard foams using tannin, a compound found in tree bark, typically left over as a waste product in the lumber industry.

Since the foams have good insulating and flame-resistant properties, they can be used predominantly as insulating material for buildings and moulded automobile parts, claims the center.

Also, the group says, they could be used as catalysts or filters for heavy metals and as a replacement for packaging materials like styrofoam. And Freiburg claims they will “even be useful after the products themselves are worn out,” since a further goal is to convert the foams into biofuel.

“We want to relieve the burden on the environment by increasing the usefulness of wood and offering a marketable alternative to petroleum-based foams,” Laborie said in a statement.

According to the Freiburg center, the foam made in the lab uses tannin, furfuryl alcohol and a solvent, such as diethyl ether, with formaldehyde as a crosslinking agent. “We are still looking for a less environmentally harmful, natural cross-linking agent to replace formaldehyde in the future,” said Ricarda B"hm, a doctoral candidate in Laborie’s research group.

The scientists are trying to use only natural raw materials, and ideally waste products. One interesting candidate is aldehyde furfural, which can be produced from sawdust.

The work also is using natural additives that prevent the foam from crumbling too much, and the foams also can be modified with nanocellulose to improve their mechanical stability, the center said.

The “Biofoambark” work is being supported by the Agency for Renewable Resources with funds from the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Consumer Protection. As well as the University of Freiburg, collaborators on the project include the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems in Freiburg, and scientific and industrial partners in Italy, Spain, Finland, Slovenia, and France.


Comments

'Biofoambark' project wins prizes

Published: November 2, 2012 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ferro sells another piece of its plastics business

December 19, 2014 3:33 pm ET

Ferro Corp. has sold its North American polymer additives business to a private equity firm for $154 million in cash.    More

Image

The return of HPM's big presses

December 19, 2014 11:47 am ET

HPM is back in big injection molding machines.    More

Image

Antimicrobial polymers firm TiFiber launching pilot production in Ark.

December 19, 2014 10:58 am ET

TiFiber Inc., which makes synthetic compounds to control dangerous microorganisms, will locate a pilot production facility and its future company...    More

Smithers Group relocating some jobs to Ohio

December 19, 2014 10:05 am ET

Smithers Group will relocate its North American Information business unit from Portland, Maine, to Akron, Ohio, and as a result will move more than...    More

Image

Patel named LyondellBasell CEO

December 19, 2014 9:56 am ET

Bhavesh V. “Bob” Patel has been named CEO of Houston-based polyolefins producer LyondellBasell Industries NV, effective Jan. 12.    More

Market Reports

Flexible Packaging Trends in North America

Our latest RESEARCH report examines trends in FLEXIBLE PACKAGING impacting the North American market including a review of economic conditions, key drivers of growth, materials pricing, M&A activity, sustainability challenges and the outlook for 2015.

Learn more

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 billion plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

October 27, 2015 - October 29, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - New York - 2015

More Events