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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1101

Materials The palm rest

Materials The palm rest of the Fujitsu Eco-keypad is injection molded by the German company Amper-Plastik using 100% bio-based ARBOFORM. This material is 100% biobased and 100% biodegradable. Its haptics is pleasant and warm. edding 24 highlighter: Cap and barrel made from ARBOFILL with 70% renewable resources Biopolymer Composites based on Lignin and Cellulose Article contributed by Lars Ziegler Jürgen Pfitzer Helmut Nägele Benjamin Porter Technaro GmbH Isfeld-Auenstein Germany www.tecnaro.de TECNARO is a producer of high-quality thermoplastics from renewable resources. One of the main raw materials is lignin, which is the second most abundant natural polymer after cellulose. More than 20 billion tons of lignin are created by photosynthesis each year in nature. Lignin can be obtained as a by-product of the pulp and paper industry and the volume arising worldwide is about 50 to 60 million tons per year. Lignin can be extracted also from wood bark or straw (see comprehensive ‘basics’ article on pages 54ff) Mixing lignin with natural fibres like e. g. flax, hemp, wood or other fibre plants and natural additives produces thermoplastic composites. These granules made from 100% renewable resources are marketed under the brand name ARBOFORM ® (arbor, Latin = the tree). A series of granted patents led to the European Inventor Award 2010. Arboform ® is sustainable, independent from crude oil, reduces environmental impacts and offers new markets for agriculture and forestry business. It combines two big industrial sectors: Wood industry can provide three dimensional parts in an economic way and plastics processors can substitute their materials by an ecological alternative. It can be considered as ‘liquid wood’. Arboblend ® is a family of 100% biodegradable blends of biopolymers like lignin or lignin derivatives and/or other biopolymers like polylactic acid, polyhydroxyalkanoates, starch, natural resins and waxes, cellulose, additives and natural fibers – depending on the grade. Its mechanical properties are comparable to those of ABS. Arbofill ® compounds are made from plastics and natural fibers like wood, hemp, flax, sisal, bagasse from sugarcane, bamboo, coir fibre from coconut husk, etc. This combination offers sustainable and aesthetical materials with good mechanical and thermal properties at very competitive costs. All products can be processed by injection moulding, extrusion, calendering, blow molding, thermoforming or compression moulded into parts, semi-finished product, sheet, film or profiles. Today’s series applications can be found in toys, automotive, furniture, electronics, music instruments, packaging, office, building and construction industries as well as in funeral business, agriculture and forestry. Bavarian State Forestry and the designer Jochen Rümmelein are using thermoformable ARBOBLEND for their forest signs. COZA bios line covers more than 40 different household products are injection moulded from ARBOFILL with FDA approval. IMM and Sony: Loudspeakers made from ARBOFORM. Excellent design and optimized sound behavior due to injection moulded free form geometries. 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6

Materials Now, with its research, development, and application engineering indicating a clear and concise path to market, a Nebraska (USA) company, Laurel BioComposite, LLC, anticipates commercial production of LignoMAXX to commence in 2012. LignoMAXX, a resin extender based on lingo-cellulosic biobased feedstock, can be blended in significant inclusion rates with both thermoset and thermoplastic resins with the end product displaying favorable characteristics in specific applications, such as being 11% lighter weight and 11% stronger. These are excellent attributes for products in the durable goods sector, such as construction elements including shower walls, vanity tops, and related plastic goods, as well as shipping pallets and automobile body panels. Additional advantages for the manufacturer are its superior dispersion index and its density modulus which can create more parts at the same weight loading. Higher inclusion rates, compared to simple biobased fillers, along with the sequestering of carbon and displacement of crude oil, also means that manufacturers utilizing LignoMAXX could find their end products qualifying for the (US) Federal BioPreferred Program or assisting them in becoming LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified. Whereas nearly any type of ligno-cellulosic biomass can be processed through the conversion technology being utilized, distillers dried grains with solubles (DDGS) has been selected as the initial feedstock.DDGS is readily available and abundant throughout central United States, further assuring that the company will be able to provide their product in consistent and adequately large quantities to meet the volume requirements of the durable goods plastic industry. With over fourteen years of collective research and development, Laurel BioComposite is ready to pursue the construction of its Nebraska plant. The internal testing, as well as the commercial testing performed by industry experts, indicates that LignoMAXX is ready to add both value and sustainability to an ever-growing range of biobased commercial products. The patented process of converting ligno-cellulosic biomass into a plastic resin enhancer was developed by LignoTech Limited of Ashburton, New Zealand.Production involves processing cellulosic material at a predetermined moisture and of a consistent size and then subjecting it to a high pressure steam environment where the plant-derived material undergoes a molecular change. The hydrolysis products thus created, when repolymerised with heat and pressure, form a strong, water-resistant matrix. The process has been successfully demonstrated in a pilot plant, in operation since the 1990‘s, utilizing DDGS sent there from three different Nebraska ethanol facilities. Inital testing on the processed material from the pilot plant was done at Scion, a New Zealand Crown Research Institute and bio-material research facility. Production in the first Laurel BioComposite plant is estimated to be around 18,000 tonnes (40 million pounds) annually of the LignoMAXX powder for thermoset applications, with future plants, already part of the company’s expansion plan for 2013, producing both the powder and LignoMAXX pellets for thermoplastic applications. MT Bioplastics in Durable Goods Shipping Pallet – 40% LignoMAXX www.laurelbiocomposite.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/11] Vol. 6 23

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