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

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - ReInvent (Novel Products for Construction and Automotive Industries Based on Bio Materials and Natural Fibres)

Reporting period: 2021-06-01 to 2022-05-31

The need: In view of moving towards a post-petroleum society, the use of biomass for industrial and energy purposes is a must. Large construction and automotive industries have high potential for effective implementation of this strategy
Thus, the overarching objective of the project was to develop and combine bio- based materials and fibers that can replace the petroleum-based polyurethane (PUR) insulation and structural products used in buildings and soft foams for vehicle interior products.
Innovation objectives/ activities:
1. Development of a portfolio of bio-based, multifunctional, sustainable and low-cost rigid and soft foams (hydrophobic flame retardant and antifungal) with high insulating effectiveness and an exploitation property profile as per the end user’s requirements:
2. Development of bio-based components for the formulation and production of novel cellular materials and products:
3. Up-scaled production of the newly developed materials to be used in the novel bio-based foam formulations: and bio-PUR based novel rigid and soft foams and Natural Fiber (NF) Reinforced Plastic (NFRP) nanocomposites for the construction and automotive industries
4. Demonstration of the novel products as alternatives to available petroleum and bio-based insulation materials
5. Recycling technologies using cost-efficient methodologies
Main project outputs:
• Novel bio-based polyurethane (PUR) foams
• Components and additives for the insulation systems based on bio-PURs
• 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.
From the social point of view efficient use of biomass and industrial by-products leads to an European Bioeconomy to reconcile food security, natural resource scarcity and environmental objectives.
• Production and assembling of the pre-commercial nano-coating lines and production of the novel functional nanoparticles - Silica-based nanomaterials, nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) 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 construction products, different foam formulations, of bio-based PUR, PIR-PIR, PUR-IPU and NCC-NF based foams were developed. The Optimal formulations were selected for up-scaling to a pre-industrial level, such as panels and foams for insulation by spraying application.
• Insulating and structural sandwich panels were advanced. The use PFA resin was investigated in combination with Flax and Glass fiber hybrid system for large sandwich panels for partition wall elements.
• For automotive applications, optimization of the foams formulations was performed combined with processing set up to enable integration of novel materials into industrial production. Soft foams formulations for headliners, textiles and dashboard were optimized with a bio-content up to 70%; upscale of polyols production was optimised and formulations upscaled tests were positive. NCC low density foams 100% bio- were optimized and tested positively in the assembling process of headliners.
• Recycling - Aminolysis procedure was more efficient than glycolysis for recycling bio-based polyurethane foams. The time necessary for complete recycling can be further reduced by applying pressure. Up to 20 kg of a commercial PUR foam has been decomposed in a reactor set up not been successful
• The attributional Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and Life Cycle Costing (LCC) was carried out for the manufacturing products for the construction and automotive industries. The LCA and LCC analyses applied to each module and the modules interconnection resulted in 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 polyurethane (PUR), Polyurethane-Polyisocyanurate (PUR-PIR) and Polyurethane-Indirect Polyurea (PUR-IPU) rigid molded; spray foams and soft foams
• Nanocrystalline Cellulose-Natural Fibers (NCC-NF) based soft foams
• Poly (furfuryl alcohol (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 realised this vision, and the objectives mentioned above by the development of novel bio-based value chains, VC1 forest based and VC2 agro-based biomaterials and products can be further 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).
ReInvent is a link in this chain, directly contributing to the above-mentioned goals in the development of bio-based materials and products for the construction and automotive. industries