The bio-foam is manufactured similarly to the wood foams developed and made at the Fraunhofer WKI. We grind up lignocellulose-based material in water using a mechanical disintegration process to achieve a highly viscose consistency. Then we foam it and dry it. The material is held together solely by the binding characteristics of the lignocellulose which are activated during manufacturing. The porous objects which are ultimately formed therefore contain no synthetic or non-plant-based binding agents whatsoever.
The intended result is a pressure-resistant packaging material which is completely made of lignocellulose and can be recycled like paper. This enables a “cascading” use of the material and offers a significant cost advantage for industry and trade: for many products, the actual secondary packaging made from cardboard often contains intermediate layers and spacers made from polymer foams. The separation and separate disposal causes additional costs. These are not created with lignocellulose foam, as the material consists purely of lignocellulose and can therefore be recycled, together with the secondary packaging, via the waste paper collection system.
The end of the project should see a viable production process whose greenhouse gas emissions will be continually assessed and compared with the emissions from conventional foams.