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

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ReInvent (Novel Products for Construction and Automotive Industries Based on Bio Materials and Natural Fibres)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-11-30

The automotive industry is constantly looking for new materials in order to reduce the vehicle weight and comply with sustainability related legislation.
Buildings consume large amounts of resources to construct and operate. Europe’s construction and automotive industries are seen as having strong potential when it comes to implementing the EU’s Bio economy for Europe action plan.
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 products derived in the ReInvent project will be validated for their enhanced properties, sustainability and low cost, and compared to currently available petroleum- and bio-based counterparts. To enhance the sustainability of these products and materials, new energy and cost-efficient recycling technologies will be developed.
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 of bio-based adhesives, resins and composites - Bio-based IPU and PFA resin were developed and tested using different additives for natural fibre reinforced plastic (NFRP) applications. An optimal natural fibre have been identified to produce NFRP (nano)composite skin for sandwich structures using PFA and IPU resin formulations. In parallel, the development of novel lignocellulosic adhesion promoters has been started for joining the composite skin and foam core in sandwich structures.
Formulation, production and scale-up of bio-based soft foams and products for the automotive industry - The specifications related to soft foams were defined for the interior car parts in order to guide the future materials development in the project for the 3 applications: forms for headliner, textiles for seat covers and foamed dashboard . The description of requirements includes: i) type and properties of current materials in use to b used as reference for formulations preparation; ii) processing parameters of current technologies to identify compatibility with existing lines and propose alternative industrial solutions to integrate new materials; iii) testing protocol to verify materials properties based on FCA standards. Based on these requirements technology providers partners started to produce materials using results of WP1 and are ready to start scaling up. The 3 consortium end-users performed a benchmarking activity to select competing technologies and update project objectives. Different suppliers for headliners and textiles foams were selected and samples requested for characterization. For foamed dashboard samples from one of the major FCA supplier produced samples that demonstrate the compatibility of bio-based material with final application. A further activity for automotive was the testing of NCC materials for headliner application in substitution of PU foam; even if improvements are needed, preliminary tests showed promising results.
Recyclability - processes of new materials - Conventional petrol based polyurethane foams have been successfully recycled in bench scale experiments by aminolysis and glycolysis.
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 (including co- and by-products), while unlocking utilization and valorisation of waste and lignocellulosic biomass; ii) bringing existing VCs to new levels, through optimised uses of feedstock and industrial side streams, and offering innovative added value products to the market, thus creating a market pull and reinforcing the competitiveness of EU agriculture and forest based industries; iii) bringing technology to maturity through research and innovation, and through upgrading and building demonstration and flagship bio refineries that will process the biomass into a range of innovative bio based products.
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
- Employment
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). Long term projections show that the economic potential to use biomass as feedstock for synthetic chemicals and polymers varies between 15-17 EJ in 2050.
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