Carbohydrate conversion to highly reactive intermediate chemicals for adhesives

In the SUSBIND project, 11 partners from science and industry are jointly researching bio-based binders for wood-based materials.

Wood K plus leads a work package on the development of a new technology for the production of carbohydrate-based binders. The selection of suitable chemicals as well as the successful implementation of a production process for a carbohydrate-based precursor was confirmed in the intermediate project evaluation in February 2020.

The conversion of fructose to the platform chemical 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural is a promising approach (Fig. 1) that was successfully implemented in a continuous microreactor as well as a pressurized batch (Fig. 2). The synthesis was designed in accordance with the principles of green chemistry, as such no hazardous solvents or catalysts were used.

Figure 1: Acidic dehydration of fructose to hydroxymethylfurfural

The reaction is based on the acidic dehydratization of a fructose solution using sulfuric acid as catalyst and water as solvent. The produced precursor solution, containing minor amounts of side-products, can be used directly in the adhesive production. This in-situ approach ensures that no additional purification steps are needed. The “waste stream” of the process is water that is separated in a concentration step. The project is continued with the development of adhesives for wood composites.

Figure 2: Carbohydrate conversion to highly reactive intermediate chemicals for adhesives