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Tree bark presents innovative non-petroleum PU foam solution

By: Jane Denny
URETHANES TECHNOLOGY INTERNATIONAL

December 11, 2013

FREIBERG, GERMANY — A project to develop a fully bio-based tannin foam as a substitute to petroleum-based foams won an innovation award at the Association Foamed Plastics and Polyurethanes’ (FSK) annual conference.

The BioFoamBark process, coordinated by Freiburg Material Research Center member Marie-Pierre Laborie, involves the extraction of tannins from the bark of prevalent softwood species in Europe.

Other components for the foam formulation, like glycerol and furfural or nanocellulose, are recovered as by-products from biodiesel and the pulp and paper industry.

One aim is to develop foams with the properties of building insulation materials and for conversion into synthesis gas at the end of the product life.

The team behind the project plan to assess the environmental performance, techno-economic feasibility and market potentials of the biomaterials.

The consortium won funding from WoodWisdom-Net/ERA-NET Bioenergy program (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e. V. FNR in Germany) and the project is due to run for three years.