Laboratory scale carbohydrate conversion reactions

(C) Photo Wood K Plus

Production of carbohydrate-based binders for wood products

The main task of Wood K plus in the SUSBIND project is the development of carbohydrate-based resins and other wood adhesive systems and characterization of the resins will be performed on laboratory scale. The most promising bio-based binders will then be up-scaled to pilot production and used for manufacturing P2 particleboards and medium density fiber boards (MDF).

The project partner Cargill did the selection of suitable carbohydrate feedstock. More information on the selection process can be found in a previous blog post. The selected carbohydrates are the monomers fructose and glucose as well as the oligomer maltodextrin. The investigation of conversion reactions is based on the selected feedstock.

Investigation of conversion reactions of carbohydrates

With regard to the final application in the wood board industry, the bio-based binder system must have a reduced carbon footprint and lower human health impact than the current fossil-based binder systems. Hence, special focus is put on the reaction conditions and materials used in the carbohydrate conversion reaction. The obtained reactive intermediates will be applied directly in the bio-based binder system and should meet the environmental and regulatory requirements.

The following criteria need to be assessed when investigating carbohydrate conversion reactions:

  • Sustainability
  • Reactivity of products
  • Utilization of suitable solvents and catalysts
  • Applicability for an in-situ process
  • Technical applicability in terms of large-scale production
  • Economic considerations
  • Efficient material and energy use

The conversion reaction must avoid using or generating substances that are harmful to humans and/or the environment. In addition, the chemical products of the conversion reaction have to perform in the desired way but be as non-toxic and non-hazardous as possible. In terms of reactivity, the produced intermediates must be able to crosslink in the subsequent polymerization reaction. Furthermore, the time needed for full curing of the bio-based resin should be comparable to commercial fossil-based binders with similar strength values.

In terms of the utilization of solvents, special focus is put on the utilization of the solvent in the follow-up resin production step. Water was identified as an ideal solvent that can be used in the carbohydrate conversion and the resin production.

The amount of conversion product that ends up in the final product must be maximized in order to have an economic and efficient process.

Selecting the most promising crosslinking systems

The literature was screened for the selection process of the most promising crosslinking systems based on the previously defined criteria. The carbohydrate conversion reactions will be tested in laboratory-scale to determine the practicability of the production method as well as to define the optimal parameters. The final selection of a potential precursor will be based on these results. The results of the literature screening will be topic of a follow-up blog post later this year.


Author: DI Catherine Thoma, BSc.

Junior Researcher, Area Wood Materials Technologies

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH, WoodK+

The “SUS” in SUSBIND: ensuring development of sustainable wood-based panel boards

SUSBIND aims at a bio-based adhesive outperforming current conventional adhesives by means of a significantly lower carbon footprint, while also reducing emissions that may have a negative effect on human health.

Blog post: Glue as an important contributor towards IKEAs sustainability goals

Glue contributes 6% to the total climate impact of IKEA. In a company of IKEAs size that’s a lot. Finding a renewable based solution is a priority in order to meet two key goals set out in the IKEA sustainability strategy.

SUSBIND at an Austrian-Dutch network event

On the initiative of the Austrian embassy in the Netherlands and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, a networking event between Austrian and Dutch research institutes and universities was organized on March 21-22 in the Hague, Netherlands.

Enzymes – an important part of our daily life

For thousands of years, people have been using microorganisms for the production of foods such as beer, wine, vinegar, bread and dairy products such as cheese and yogurt. Within SUSBIND project, enzymes play an important role as well.

Selection of feedstocks from starch-based bio-refineries

SUSBIND was initiated with the goal to substitute fossil-based chemicals with those from renewable resources. Meeting a first milestone end of December 2018, the carbohydrate-based feedstocks are now selected.

SUSBIND meets Seville: Project progress confirmed at the latest partner meeting

SUSBIND is on good track. Our partners met to check the project progress and to share experience after nine months of project work. The 2nd Consortium Meeting was hosted at the IRNAS institute in Seville, Spain from 19 to 21 February 2019.

The SUSBIND Consortium in front of the IRNAS institute, Seville © RTDS

After the project kick-off in May 2018 in Austria, the initial set up and first project research results, the partners met in sunny Seville between 19 and 21 February. Hosted by IRNAS, the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the meeting started with a project overview and review of the goals led by Sanne Nusselder, of CE Delft.

New colleagues were also officially welcomed to the Consortium: Signe Damgaard- Berggren, Sustainability lead at IKEA (SE), Catherine Thoma and Wilfried Sailer Kronlachner, PhD students from WoodKplus (AT), Jan Kiebist, researcher at JenaBios (DE) and Alexander Karich, researcher at the TU Dresden (DE).

SUSBIND project so far

Within the first nine months of the project, one milestone was met and six deliverables were submitted on time:

Work package WP1 is successfully working on finding the right feedstock that provide the raw materials for producing the thermoset resins that will form the binders. So far 3 carbohydrate feedstocks were selected based on the criteria of availability, sustainability, cost and technical applicability. Next is the selection of feedstocks from vegetable oils and pre-treatments which is as a collaborative effort between Cargill, IRNAS, CE Delft and FhG (IGB).

Thomas Luchsinger/ Cargill presenting WP1, © Ana Babić/RTDS

Within work package WP2 a literature study was conducted by WoodKplus on various approaches of carbohydrate conversion. Laboratory scale carbohydrate conversion for in-situ reaction is under way and laboratory-scale production of resin as reference resin was completed as a preparation for the production of the most promising resin in the months to come.

Work package WP3 led by Angel T. Martinez of CIB_CSIC and his team is dedicated to developing new enzymatic technology for production of oil-based precursors. Enzyme production for laboratory and pilot epoxidation reactions are well under way.

W5 led by CE Delft has successfully provided a life cycle analysis LCA of the state-of the art resins that includes environmental performance benchmarks for bio-based adhesives, first ever public information that examines carbon footprint and human toxicity potential for bio-based products.

The communication and dissemination activities are up and running: the project website keeps informing on all the project related news and developments, Twitter and LinkedIn do their part as well. Our graphic team has provided a factsheet, a presentation and a roll-up for those partners actively presenting the project at relevant events. In addition, SUSBIND was presented at a “Bio-based breakfast” at the EU Parliament in Strasbourg and at several events on the topics of bioeconomy and biochemistry, such as the Stakeholderdialog Biobased Industry in Vienna, earlier last year.

Ana Babić / RTDS presenting the Communication and Dissemination WP6 © S. Webb RTDS

A new and more useful communication strategy was presented by RTDS and discussed in an informal workshop. New ideas were collected and more engagement at events was promised by the partners. An editorial calendar of relevant topics where partners will share relevant project related activities and knowledge was also set up.

Communication session by Ana Povh / RTDS © A. Babić, RTDS

IP and Trade secret session right by Luis Rodrigues / RTDS © A. Babić, RTDS

What is next for SUSBIND

After hearing all the work package presentations and Q&A sessions, the partners felt they new more about the work of other project partners. RTDS as Coordinator could witness enthusiasm in the collaborative effort and thanked our host Dr. Ana Gutiérrez of IRNAS for making this meeting a successful milestone on the project path.

After having revised the activity plans, there will be a lot of work in the hands of our scientist in the next months, many lab experiments and certainly a lot of exchange with industry regarding the final feedstock selection for making a bio-based binder in the first place.

In 6 months-time, in October 2019, our partners will meet again in Schiphol (NL) in the premises of Cargill, our project Scientific Coordinator. As the work package WP1 led by Cargill is expected to be finalised exactly at that time, we look forward to visiting their working environment and witnessing the project progress and results on spot.






International Women’s Day 2019: women in science

On this 8th of March, we interviewed two female researchers from SUSBIND consortium, Ms. Sanne Nusselder and Ms. Ingrid Odegard.

Two bio-economy projects presented at the European Parliament

Stephen Webb, CEO of RTDS Group and the coordinator of two EU-funded projects SUSBIND and SUSFERT, had the honor of presenting the projects at the European Parliament.

Our project partners making relevant contribution to science

Our project partners CSIC IRNAS, CIB & JenaBios recently submitted a manuscript on fatty acid epoxidation that has just been published in ChemCatChem, joining their work forces even before the project start. 

Recently discovered fungal unspecific peroxygenases from Marasmius rotula and Chaetomium globosum catalyze the epoxidation of unsaturated fatty acids (FA) and FA methyl esters (FAME), unlike the well‐known peroxygenases from Agrocybe aegerita and Coprinopsis cinerea. Reactions of a series of unsaturated FA and FAME with cis‐configuration revealed high (up to 100%) substrate conversion and selectivity towards epoxidation, although some significant differences were observed between enzymes and substrates with the best results being obtained with the C. globosum enzyme.

More here: