Technology for Wood and Natural Fiber-Based Materials

Research project

EcoPressWood – Formaldehyde-free bio-based thermosetting resins for wood pressed products

Pressed wood panels are composed of chopped or cut wood that is glued together using adhesives. Most of these resins are petroleum based products containing a hazardous chemical: formaldehyde. The acceptable levels of formaldehyde in wood pressed products have been reduced over the past decades due to increased public awareness on its effects on health and the consequent consumer demand for non-hazardous products. We are developing a formaldehyde-free thermo-setting bio-based resin (pre-polymer) for wood-based panels.

© Fraunhofer WKI | Manuela Lingnau
Bio-based resin in a round-bottomed flask
© Fraunhofer WKI | Maria Brodel
5-layer Okoumé plywood glued with a bio-based polyester poly-acrylate resin

The current situation in Europe is that the Committee for Risk Assessment of the European Chemical Agency has reclassified formaldehyde from category 2 “probably carcinogenic to humans“ to category 1B “substance which is presumed to have carcinogenic potential for humans“. This reclassification has an impact on EU standards with regards to formaldehyde emissions from wood panels. In turn, this affects the competitiveness of the European wood-based products industry who is forced to reduce, or even eliminate, the use of formaldehyde resins in wood panels. The development of efficient renewable resins to substitute petroleum or formaldehyde based adhesives is one of the biggest challenges for the wood-based panel industry.

The aim of the EcoPressWood project is to develop a formaldehyde-free thermo-setting bio-based resin (pre-polymer) for wood-based panels. A polymerization reaction between polyol monomers and different types of cross-linking agents are utilized. Both monomers and cross-linkers are synthesized from biodiesel waste.

Also, the effect of different oxide ceramic nanoparticles and nanocellulose on the resins and wood-based panels bonded therewith will be studied. The main objective is to develop bio-based resins with improved properties, which will be proofed for their use in wood-based panels like particleboard, fibreboard and plywood.

 

Detailed information about EcoPressWood can be found on the project website:

www.ecopresswood.com

Funding: 
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 605236.

 

Project coordinator:
Centro Tecnológico del Mueble y de la Madera dela Región de Murcia, Spain

 

Project duration: 
1.3.2014 to 28.2.2017

Project consortium:

  • Associations of the Austrian Wood Industries, Austria
  • Chimar Hellas S.A., Greece
  • Croatian Chamber of Economy, Croatia
  • Federlegno Arredo, Italy
  • Fraunhofer WKI, Germany
  • International Association for Technical Issues related to Wood e.V., Germany
  • Mill Panel B.V., Netherlands
  • Tecnologias Avanzadas Inspiralia, Spain
  • Wood Processing and Furniture Cluster, Ukraine