bio plastic from wood developed
February 17, 2009 § Leave a comment
Researched heavily 40 years ago, dumped in the 1990s as a perfect formula wasn’t to be found and forgot about as cheap petroleum plastics popped everywhere rendering it not feasible, “liquid wood”, as it was called, is a plastic-like substance derived from the wood’s lignin, the natural compound that lends strength to trees. It has been re-discovered by German company Tecnaro. They claim to have found the magic formula and that they are able to mold the liquid wood as plastic, forcing it under pressure into molds.
The Tecnaro staff is very secretive about the additives that makes lignin perform like a plastic and even their patent on a simpler lignin-based plastic lacks completely any info on these additives. They have been selling successfully their Arboform plastic and year by year their list of products has been growing, comprising today small objects like keyboards,watches, hairbrushes, and, recently, caskets. Future possibilities point to car interiors, furniture…and perhaps flooring (?). As it is wood-based and thus “warm”, if it can perform as well as the controversed melamine than completely sustainable laminate flooring can be achived.
Emilia Regina-Inone of the Franhoefer Chemical Institute, which works with Tecnaro to test Arboform sais that “it can be broken down and reused eight or 10 times without wrecking the material’s mechanical properties, such as its relatively high fire-resistance and durability”, which could confirm its potential use in furniture and flooring. At a production of 3000 tones a year and increasing capacity 10% every year the cost is still double compared to the traditional petroleum plastic but when capacity will be compared and as other actors in the lignin-plastic arena will appear stirring competition the price will surely go way down.
I wonder if it’s the only lignin-based bio plastic available on market at this price and if there are others please point me to their web-sites so that a more complete future article will cover them all. Any comments are welcomed as well as sharing on your social networks: