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Novel Products for Construction and Automotive Industries Based on Bio Materials and Natural Fibres

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - ReInvent (Novel Products for Construction and Automotive Industries Based on Bio Materials and Natural Fibres)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-05-31

The ReInvent project aims to deliver novel bio based rigid moulded and spraying insulation foam systems for the construction industry and novel bio based soft and semi-rigid foams for the automotive industry.
The overarching objective of the ReInvent project is to develop and combine bio- based materials and fibres that can replace the petroleum-based polyurethane (PUR) insulation and structural products used in buildings and soft foams for vehicle interior products. For the first period of the project it sets out to:
• Develop a portfolio of bio-based, multifunctional, sustainable and low-cost rigid and soft foams with high insulating effectiveness and an exploitation property profile as per the end user’s requirements. Develop bio-based components for the formulation and production of novel cellular materials and products;
• Develop recycling technologies using cost-efficient chemical and enzymatic processes for the developed materials allowing re-use in various industrial sectors
Production and assembling of the pre-commercial nano-coating lines and production of the novel functional nanoparticles - Silica-based nanomaterials, crystalline nanocellulose and lignin were extracted from different agro-industrial residues for the developments of the biobased foams. Silica nanoparticles with hydrophobic and antifungal and flame retardant properties were successfully produced.
For the production and up-scale of bio-based adhesives, resins and composites for application in NFRP composites polyfurfuryl alcohol and indirect polyurea resin systems have been developed/modified with the addition of bio-based (nano-) particles to improve both the processing and final performance of the composites. Natural fibre reinforcements have been evaluated in combination with the bio resins. based components Adhesives based have also been developed for bonding cellulose-rich materials such as wood and NFRP composites and bonding composite skins to polyurethane foams into sandwich structures. The most promising NFRP composite configuration was upscaled for use in construction applications.
For products for construction industry different foam formulations, for bio based PUR, PIR-PIR, PUR-IPU and NCC-NF based foam has been developed. Optimum formulations were selected for up-scaling to industrial level, as panels and foams for insulation by spraying application.
Insulating and structural sandwich panels are also under advanced development. The use PFA resin was investigated to be used in combination with Flax and Glass fibre hybrid system for producing large sandwich panels for partition wall elements.
The optimization of the foams formulations for automotive applications was performed combined with processing set up to integrate novel materials into industrial production lines. Soft foams formulations part A for headliners, textiles and dashboard were optimized with a bio-content up to 70%; upscale of polyols production is ongoing and preliminary formulations upscaled tests started with positive results:. Also NCC low density foams 100% bio were optimized and tested positively in the assembling process of headliners.
Recycling - Aminolysis turned out to be a more efficient procedure to recycle bio-based polyurethane foams compared with glycolysis. The times necessary for complete recycling can be further reduced by applying pressure. Amounts of up to 20 kg of a commercial PUR foam have been decomposed in a reactor set up specifically for large scale recycling. After a separation procedure, PEG of satisfactory quality can be extracted from the recyclate. On the lab scale, an enzymatic degradation of the polyurethane foams has so far not been successful
The attributional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of the processes for manufacturing construction and automotive industry products and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) analysis has been carried out according to international guidelines. The LCA and LCC analyses applied to each module of the ReInvent system and the modules interconnection providing a complete integrated sustainability picture, enabling further processes optimization under the environmental and economic point of view, complying with the required products multi-functionality.
Main project outputs
Novel bio-based materials
- Bio-based PUR, PUR-PIR and PUR-IPU rigid molded; spray foams and soft foams
- NCC-NF based soft foams
- PFA impregnated NCC-NF based rigid foams
Components and additives for the insulation systems
- PFA and/or IPU based NFRP nanocomposite laminates for sandwich structures
- Lignocellulosic adhesives and/or adhesion promoters
- Phosphorus containing bio-polyol to improve the flame resistance of new cellular and composite products
- Lignocellulosic and bio-silica NPs as nucleation precursors and reinforcing nanofillers for foam and resin components
- Bio-polyol-grafted NPs for controlling the morphology of bio-PUR based foams
Seven new bio-based products
- 4 for the construction industry: insulation sandwich panels, insulation spray foams, structural sandwich parts (composite floor slabs and bridge decks, and pre-insulated pipes
- 3 for the automotive industry: car ceilings, dashboards, and seat cover.
Strengthening the European competitiveness
The BBI focuses on developing EU-based VCs and accelerating the transition to advanced feed stock for bio refineries. It focuses on: i) building new VCs based on the development of sustainable biomass collection and supply systems with increased productivity, and improved utilization of biomass feed stock, while unlocking utilization and valorisation of waste and lignocellulosic biomass; ii) bringing existing VCs to new levels,; iii) bringing technology to maturity through research and innovation, and through upgrading and building demonstration
ReInvent realises this vision, and the objective mentioned above by the development of novel bio-based value chains VC1 forest based and VC2 agro-based biomaterials and products will be developed for the construction and automotive industries, while securing feed stock availability and flexibility.
Socio-economic impacts
ReInvent will have a strong impact on employment, since it is close to industrialisation with a high potential to materialise and introduce the new technologies and products, requiring new professionals experienced in polymers, nanomaterials, bio-chemical and nanotechnologies, engineering, mechanics, process/product safety analysis and marketing.
Considering the manufacturers involved in this project and based on their own estimation, a mean direct increase of 6 persons for each industrial partner is foreseen in the three years after the project.
Environmental Impact
The bio-based polymer industry is still small compared to the synthetic polymer industry (ca. 315t p.a. in 2007). However, the global production of bio-based plastics is expected to continue growing strongly soon to about 6.7 tons by 2018 (0.16 EJ) (Fib 2015).
ReInvent is a link in this chain, directly contributing to the unmentioned goals in developed of bio-based materials and products for the construction and automotive industries