'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

Formosa to be compensated for Vietnam riot

July 28, 2014 1:44 pm ET

Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group will receive $2.39 million from the Vietnamese government and insurance companies for damages suffered during the...    More

Image

Ukraine's Group DF may be forced to sell Crimea-based additives plant

July 28, 2014 10:12 am ET

Group DF, the industrial business of Ukrainian tycoon Dmitry Firtash, may be forced to sell off Eastern Europe's biggest producer of titanium oxide,...    More

Image

Gear pump maker Witte expands in Germany and USA

July 25, 2014 2:15 pm ET

Witte Pumps & Technology GmbH, the German maker of gear pumps for extrusion, has moved into a new headquarters factory in the Hamburg area, and the...    More

Image

Austrian mold maker seeking North American manufacturing partner

July 25, 2014 1:49 pm ET

An Austrian mold maker is looking for a manufacturing location in North America.    More

Image

DuPont resins help take Nike golf balls 'Fore!'ward

July 25, 2014 1:07 pm ET

It may be difficult to imagine just how much science, not to mention rubber and plastic components, go into a golf ball. But global giant DuPont Co. b...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recyclers Data Report & Directory

This exclusive MS Excel database contains all the companies from Plastics News' ranking of top North American Recyclers and Brokers by reprocessed volume and also includes a directory with materials processes, services offered and company contact information. Data is based on primary research by PN editorial staff.

Learn more

2014 Injection Molding Industry Report

GROWTH, OPPORTUNITY IN SIGHT FOR INJECTION MOLDERS IN 2014

In the wake of the economic turbulence earlier in this decade, molders today find themselves in much better shape. Molders are gaining a competitive advantage by investing in people, equipment and seeking inroads into new markets on a global scale.

Growth in the injection molding industry is going to be driven by low financing costs and a continued move to reshore some business.

Learn more

Shale Gas Market - Analysis of North American Region

This report highlights the impact of shale-based natural gas on the North American plastics market and features an in-depth analysis of production trends in the United States during 2013 and a forecast for 2014 and beyond.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

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

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

More Events