EU Ecolabel Criteria for furniture and the SUSBIND survey

For the occasion of the Final Online Conference on June 1, 2022, SUSBIND was honoured to host Antonio Delre – Project Officer at Joint Research Centre of the European Commission, who presented the latest developments on the EU Ecolabel criteria for furniture. Here are some highlights of his presentation.

The EU Ecolabel is an EU voluntary label for eco excellence set in Regulation 66/2010 released in 2010 and established thirty years ago. It certifies products with a guaranteed, independently-verified low environmental impact. To be awarded the EU Ecolabel goods and services should meet high environmental standard throughout their entire life-cycle, from an analysis of the raw material extraction through production and distribution to disposal. Products are classified into mini-product groups and there almost 90 000 products awarded so far with more than 2000 licences. A company can get a licence within mini-products, so mini products can be part of more than one licence.

When observing the number of products and licences for furniture awarded in the last eight years, one can notice an increase in number for both categories from 2019 until today. This trend was triggered by the regulation of the Danish authorities to allow only EU Ecolabel furniture in public procurement. Public authorities within the EU are major consumers of EU Ecolabel furniture and they represent 40% of the EU growth domestic product.

EU Ecolabel criteria

EU Ecolabel criteria are set in the European Commission Decision (EU) 2016/1332 and are valid until July 2022 and the current validity will be extended according to Antonio Delre – Project Officer at JRC.

The product group ‘furniture’ includes free-standing or built-in units whose primary function is to be used for the storage, placement or hanging of items and/or to provide surfaces where users can rest, sit, eat, study or work, whether for indoor or outdoor use. The scope extends to domestic furniture and contract furniture items for use in domestic or non-domestic environments. Bed frames, legs, bases and headboards are included in the scope.

The following products are excluded from the EU Ecolabel scope:

(a) Bed mattresses, which are covered by the criteria set out in Commission Decision 2014/391/EU (3), (b) Products whose primary function is not to be used as per paragraph 1, including streetlights, railings and fences, ladders, clocks, playground equipment, stand-alone or wall-hung mirrors, electrical conduits, road bollards and building products such as steps, doors, windows, floor coverings and cladding.

(c) Second-hand, refinished, refurbished or remanufactured furniture products.

(d) Furniture fitted in vehicles used for public or private transit.

(e) Furniture products which consist of more than 5 % (weight by weight) of materials not included in the following list: solid wood, wood-based panels, cork, bamboo, rattan, plastics, metals, leather, coated fabrics, textiles, glass and padding/filling materials.

The EU Ecolabel criteria are classified in the following eleven categories:

  1. Product description
  2. General requirements for hazardous substances and mixtures (Substances of Very High Concern)
  3. Wood, cork, bamboo and rattan
  4. Plastics
  5. Metals
  6. Upholstery covering materials
  7. Upholstery padding materials
  8. Glass: use of heavy metals
  9. Final product requirements
  10. Consumer information
  11. Information appearing on the EU Ecolabel

Final product requirements are quite important as they include: easy disassembly for repair, reuse and recycling, extended product guarantee and provision of spare parts.

The criteria number 3 is relevant for furniture as it sets the requirements for:

  • Sustainable wood
  • Contaminants in recycled wood used in wood-based panels
  • Heavy metals and VOC in paints, primers and varnishes
  • Formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panels

Formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panels

Formaldehyde emissions from wood-based panels within the EU Ecolabel must be below one of these three requirements: 50% of the threshold value classified in E1 (EN 13986)- European standard, or below 65% of the threshold value of E1 (EN 13986) for MDF or alternatively be lower that the limits set in CARB Phase IIm JIS F-3 star and JIS F-4 star.

All these requirements apply only if the content in the wood-based panel exceeds 5% of the whole weight of the product. Additionally, it applies in the boards that are used in the furniture products manufactured by using the formaldehyde-based resins.

Figure 1: Proposed ecodesign reqirements

Future developments

This year there was a Proposal COM (2022) 142 for Eco-design for Sustainable Product Regulation by the European Commission, which is a framework legislation. Within this package furniture was spot to be a suitable candidate to be included in the first working plan. This means as soon as this regulation goes through scrutiny of the EU Parliament and the Council, it is likely that there will be A specific Delegated Act addressing the eco-design of furniture. The next revision of the EU Ecolabel criteria will consider the requirements reported in the delegated Act for furniture.

Proposed eco-design requirements include general qualities such as durability, reparability and reusability to name only a few important ones.  The SUSBIND project is currently finalising the results of an EU Ecolabel survey that is part of an industry-led White Paper for the EU Ecolabel revision. SUSBIND can therefore provide an important support in withholding these requirements according to Delre.

Results of the SUSBIND survey will be published on the website shortly, stay tuned for more information.

Download the full presentation on the EU Ecolabel here: Antonio Delre EC EU_Ecolabel_for_furniture.

 

 

SUSBIND consortium capitalises on excellent results for biobased binders for furniture at the project end

As the climate changes, the furniture of the future will have to be sustainable, multi-functional and efficient. Nowadays, the wood board industry relies heavily on fossil-based binders that contain formaldehyde. Having the circular economy in mind, there have been many initiatives to produce alternative binders from renewable resources, but a bio-based binder at industrial scale does not yet exist.

SUSBIND’s collaborative partnership consisting of six research and five industry partners was able to develop a bio-based binder for the manufacture of interior particleboards and medium density fibreboard (MDF).

SUSBIND Consortium members at Valbopan factory, in Nazaré, Portugal

Major scientific results

SUSBIND partners experimented with crops such as natural side streams, surplus carbohydrates, plant oils and fats to convert them into a bio-based chemical composition binder.

Wood K plus scientists meet industrial partners of Cargill

The scientific work focused on two main topics: First, on developing enzymatic technology for epoxidising complex mixtures of fatty acids obtained from vegetable oils and second, on developing a carbohydrate-based pathway for binder production. The most effective green raw material for reactive intermediates has proven to be carbohydrates. Different binder compositions were tested in laboratory experiments.  The most promising binders comprised fructose, HMF and hexamethylenediamine (HMDA) and bishexamethylenetriamine (BHT) as amine crosslinkers.

In simple terms, the outcome is a sugar-based binder that we obtain from surplus and sustainable feedstock from European bio-refineries. Because 80% of the sugar-based binder is derived from biomass, wood-based boards can be almost entirely made from renewable resources. In addition, the sugar-based binder is expected to lower indoor emissions. This will improve the air we breathe in our houses and offices.

Industrial contribution: PB and MDF testing and production

The binder was also tested at a lab-scale for binder characteristics such as viscosity, solid content and pH, bonding strength development, pressing times and temperatures, strength and curing speed being the most important qualities. SUSBIND industry partners produced the particleboards and MDF boards. Further validation of the produced SUSBIND-bonded boards was undertaken by producing a prototype furniture (TRL5) by IKEA of Sweden. The sustainable prototype box “SUSKET” was inspired by the IKEA’s famous EKET.

Most important technical results suggest the following:

  • PB boards are comparable to UF-bonded ones in terms of internal bond strength and press time.
  • The SUSBIND particleboards surpassed the requirements of the European standard EN312, class P2
  • MDF optimisation was possible even with 8% binder and was in line with European regulations in terms of density, flexion, elasticity, internal bond, humidity resistance and deflection resistance need further optimisation in the formulation.
  • The SUSBIND project sets the collaboration framework as well as the technical solution for the future of bio-based binders for furniture. Up to 80% of the bulk of the SUSBIND binder is made up of renewable materials. It has a lower impact on human health, is formaldehyde-free, and has a 5% reduction in carbon footprint. The carbon footprint reduction now at 5% needs to be optimised and it is very likely that further research could achieve further carbon footprint reduction. 

On the left a SUSBIND MDF board produced by Valbopan and on the right a SUSKET box produced by IKEA

A Way into the future

Now is Europe’s chance to capitalize on the exciting untapped potential shown by the SUSBIND results. SUSBIND was set out to have a dream to deliver something sustainable for future generations. With the cooperation of the partners, and many stakeholders along the value chain, we have come a long way to make that dream a game changing reality in the future.

Hydroxymethylfurfural in wood adhesives: Using the strength of a giant in interior particleboards

Wood adhesives must meet various criteria in terms of technical suitability and economic feasibility [1]. Important requirements in this regard are a rapid cure speed and high reactivity. Previously, these properties were identified as remaining challenges in the manufacture of bio-based adhesive and still prevent a cleaner production of wood particleboards [2].

SUSBIND approach

Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a promising, bio-based chemical acting as a highly reactive compound in adhesives. HMF has earned the epithet of a (sleeping) giant of sustainable chemistry, a term playing on its anticipated high market potential as well as on challenges occurring in large-scale production. Previously, it was found that HMF acts as a key reactant in fructose-amine adhesives, leading to an increased reactivity [3]. As visualized in Figure 1, this increased reactivity is a result of the lower activation energy needed for the curing reaction of the SUSBIND adhesive (a fructose-HMF-bishexamethylenetriamine (BHT) system). The activation energy is defined as the minimum energy that is required for a reactive species (e.g. an uncured adhesive) to undergo a reaction (e.g. curing reaction).

Figure 1: Illustration of the activation energy (left) and activation energy of SUSBIND adhesive (Fructose-HMF(5%)-BHT) during curing reaction (right) [3]

Laboratory-scale particleboard production

Within the SUSBIND project, lab-scale particleboards were produced together with the industry partner Fritz EGGER GmbH & Co. OG to evaluate the potential of HMF as reactive compound in the SUSBIND adhesive. Figure 2 depicts a typical particleboard production process in lab-scale.

Figure 2: Workflow of the production of laboratory-scale particleboards

If you are would like to know more about lab-scale particleboard production, check out the video on SUSBIND board pressing at EGGER: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tUC60Z46tnE

Technical assessment of SUSBIND particleboards

An important process-related parameter in the production of particleboards is the so-called press factor. It is the time needed to cure 1mm of the panel cross section. As can be seen in Figure 3, typical laboratory-scale press factors lie in the range of 5-12 s/mm using hot press-temperatures of 180-240 °C.  Many carbohydrate-based adhesives need longer press factors to reach the minimum requirements of the European standard EN312 (e.g. internal bond strength). This is a result of their reduced reactivity and cure speed. The internal bond strength is a quality parameter in the aforementioned European standard, which specifies the classification requirements of particleboards. It is indicated as a line at 0.35 N/mm2 in Figure 3. Particleboards bonded with the SUSBIND adhesive surpass P2 requirements of the European standard EN312. The detailed discussion of the particleboard testing will be published in an upcoming scientific article [5].

Figure 3: Internal bond strength of particleboards bonded with SUSBIND adhesive, compared to reported literature on carbohydrate- and/or HMF-containing adhesives [2], [4-5]

Further validation of the produced particleboards will be done by our project-partner IKEA, who will use the produced boards to produce small prototype furniture pieces.

Contact:

DI Catherine Rosenfeld, BSc.

Junior Researcher, Area Wood Materials Technologies

Kompetenzzentrum Holz GmbH, WoodK+

E-Mail: c.rosenfeld@wood-kplus.at / Homepage: www.wood-kplus.at

 

References:

[1] Arias, A., González-Rodríguez, S., Vetroni Barros, M., Salvador, R., de Francisco, A. C., Moro Piekarski, C., & Moreira, M. T. (2021). Recent developments in bio-based adhesives from renewable natural resources. Journal of Cleaner Production, 314, 127892. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2021.127892

[2] Solt;, P., Konnerth, J., Gindl-Altmutter, W., Kantner, W., Moser, J., Mitter, R., & van Herwijnen, H., W. G. ;. (2019). Technological performance of formaldehyde-free adhesive alternatives for particleboard industry. International Journal of Adhesion and Adhesives, 94, 99-131. doi:doi.org/10.1016/j.ijadhadh.2019.04.007

[3] Thoma;, C., Solt, P., Sailer-Kronlachner, W., Rosenau, T., Potthast, A., Konnerth, J., . . . van Herwijnen, H. W. G. (2021). Carbohydrate-hydroxymethylfurfural-amine adhesives: Chemorheological analysis and rheokinetic study. polymer, 231(124128).

[4] Rosenfeld;, C., Konnerth, J., Sailer-Kronlachner, W., Rosenau, T., Potthast, A., Solt, P., & van Herwijnen, H. W. G. (2020). Hydroxymethylfurfural and its Derivatives: Potential Key Reactants in Adhesives. ChemSusChem, 13(20), 5408-5422. doi:https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.202001539

[5] Rosenfeld, C., Solt-Rindler, P., Sailer-Kronlachner, W., Kuncinger, T., Konnerth, J., Geyer, A., van Herwijnen, H.W.G. (2022). Effect of mat moisture content, adhesive amount and press time on the performance of particleboards bonded with fructose-based adhesive. submitted

SUSBIND sparks discussion of the future for Net Zero furniture

The 12th International Conference on Wood Adhesives  (ICWA) was successfully held May 11-13, 2022 in Portland, Oregon, USA with the active contribution of the SUSBIND Team, represented by Wood K Plus, Cargill, IKEA and the Project Coordinator RTDS.

@IKEA produced the SUSKET box

This premier technical conference on advances in the adhesion of wood and biomass is held ever 3-4 years, and due to the pandemic, it was the first conference since 2017.Delegates from around the world gathered and attended this 3-day event investigating and discussing the latest developments from the world of adhesives.

SUSBIND, an EU funded Horizon/Biobased Industries Joint Undertaking funded research and innovation project in collaboration of six research and five industrial partners has made substantial progress in developing highly sustainable bio-based binders. It is envisaged that these binders will in future replace the conventional fossil-based ones currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass products.

In the framework of the project, SUSBIND showcased the innovative solutions in terms of novel technologies, both for the enzymatic conversion of lipids and thermo/chemical conversion of carbohydrates which are scalable and applicable in numerous industrial relevant environments.

The results were impressively demonstrated in the first prototype product based on the successful EKET range of IKEA.  This “SUS-EKET” has zero formaldehyde and uses bio-based binders from carbohydrates and vegetable oils.  Both integrated particle boards from Egger and MDF units from Valbopan were utilised.

Due to the key ingredients and due to the pressing the boards show a slightly darker colour compared to commercial boards. “This “Feature” – is a sign of proof of the bio based nature of the boards” says Mikael Muegge Senior Manager at RTDS.

@IKEA darker board with the SUSBIND biobased adhesive

While there is still room for optimisation on formulation and facilitation of pressing time, the boards pass all the set requirements.

The SUSBIND binder aims at containing a significantly lower carbon footprint, and reducing formaldehyde emissions, and thus making a meaningful contribution in improving the public health and helping mitigate climate change. Hand in hand with the EU’ Green Deal targets, SUSBIND also provides cutting-edge clean technological innovation by converting carbohydrates and vegetable oils to binder precursors by “mild” technologies.

Accordingly, SUSBIND under the management of Stephen Webb and Mikael Muegge (RTDS) held a 30-minute podium discussion with leading industry and scientific experts  Manfred Dunky, Massimo Bregola from Cargill, Erik van Herwijnen from Wood K plus and Venla Hemmilä from Inter IKEA Group fostering international dialogue between stakeholders identifying the criteria, opportunities and constraints to successfully produce and market net zero emission furniture. In this framework, SUSBIND showcased its key findings and results and the relevance these innovations (e.g. formaldehyde free products) have in the EU and USA.

@RTDS: Venla Hemmilä of IKEA and Massimo Bregola of Cargill at the Conference.

Looking at the critical point in the movement towards Net Zero Furniture the group looked at three key aspects, namely sourcing, production and marketability of such novel solutions.
In terms of sourcing Massimo Bregola from Cargill, made it clear that key aspects such as availability of raw materials and their limitations, food vs non-food sources and their relationship going forward are key priorities.

Manfred Dunky, leading industry expert added that the question of availability has two levels: for niche products for the start to implement this technology, and at an all industrial scale which requires very different parameters, some of which may not even exist in Europe.

For Venla Hemmilä from Inter IKEA Group these initiatives are clear game changers

For IKEA “sustainable furniture” have the potential to be a “game changer”. It is clear that a number of steps needs to be done by the various stakeholder groups to enable these advancements to be part of a pivotal moment.

From sustainable raw materials to sustainable recycling in furniture: SUSBIND Final Online Conference

“From Sustainable Raw Materials to Sustainable Recycling (R2R) in Furniture”

SUSBIND Final Online Conference, 1st June 2022, 10:00 am -14:00 CEST

Join our renowned experts on novel biotechnologies and bioeconomy, as well as our scientists and industry representatives! Be the first to know the new trends and discoveries from the SUSBIND project and beyond. You can download the presentations of the SUSBIND Final Online Conference June 1, 2022 here.

As the climate changes, the furniture of the future will have to be sustainable, multi-functional and efficient and today’s designers and manufacturers are already starting to explore these areas, paving the way for future developments. The wood board industry already having the circular economy in mind currently relies on the use of mainly fossil-based binders, largely formaldehyde-based binders. A number of initiatives are underway to produce alternative binders from renewable resources, but a bio-based binder at industrial scale does not yet exist.

SUSBIND’s collaborative partnership of six research and five industry partners has made substantial progress in developing highly sustainable bio-based binders that will in future replace conventional fossil-based ones currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass products.

The SUSBIND binder aims at containing a significantly lower carbon footprint, while also reducing formaldehyde emissions and thus making a meaningful contribution in improving the public health and helping mitigate climate change. Hand in hand with the EU’ Green Deal targets, SUSBIND also provides cutting-edge clean technological innovation by converting carbohydrates and vegetable oils to binder precursors by “mild” technologies.

This conference will showcase the innovative solutions the project delivers in terms of novel technologies, both for enzymatic conversion of lipids and thermo/chemical conversion of carbohydrates which are scalable and applicable in numerous industrial relevant environments.
Moreover, the SUSBIND final online conference will examine current and future trends in and beyond the binder market for furniture and check applicability of similar solutions in research and other industry fields. The aim of this global online conference is to share experience, open debates for future trends and comparable projects as well as to attract attention of relevant stakeholder and reach out to a broad audience.

AGENDA

 

Welcome and Introduction to the Conference: Stephen WebbCEO RTDS Group

10:00-10:10 Key note: SUSBIND as European Bioeconomy in the making

Philippe Mengal- Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU), Executive Director

10:10-10:20 Key note: Rolle of industry in European circular economy initiatives and European projects

Dirk Carrez – Bio-based Industry Consortium – (BIC), Executive Director

10:20-10:35 Challenges of Bio-based Materials from an Industrial Perspective

Manfred Dunky –Industry Expert-bio-based Materials

 

10:30 Block 1: New technologies

10:35-10:45 Introduction to the SUSBIND project: Ambition and results

Massimo Bregola, Global Application Lead Binders & Adhesives at Cargill and

SUSBIND Scientific Coordinator

10:45-11:00 SUSBIND Best practice #1:

Carbohydrates: Sugar syrup as the secret ingredient for biobased binders for furniture

Erik Van Herwijnen- Deputy Area Manager Wood K plus and Catherine Rosenfeld – Scientist Wood K plus

11:00-11:15 SUSBIND Best practice #2:

Emerged Enzymatic Technologies: From Fungus to Innovative Biocatalysts (UPOs)

Juan Carro – Scientist CIB CSIC and Jan Kiebist, Scientist at JenaBios

11:15-11:30 Q&A & panel discussion

11:30-11:45 Break

 

11:45 Block 2. Sustainability & Recycling

11:45-12:00 Sustainable grains for sustainable glucose

James Ede – Cargill- Global Starch & Sweeteners Sustainability Lead

12:00-12:15 Best practice example #3:

Sustainability in biomass wood-based products: Bio-catalysed polymerization of Lignosulfonates

Nikolaus Schwaiger, Chemical Engineer Biorefinery at Sappi Europe SA

12:15-12:30 Ways to recycle fiberboards for manufacturing of new particleboards and fiberboards

Jan-Olof Fechter, Category Area Wood, Material & Technology IKEA

12:30-12:45 Q&A & panel discussion

 

12:45 Block 3. CO2 emission reduction and beyond & final panel discussion

12:45-13:00 SUSBIND Best practice #4:

Early-stage environmental analyses to support biobased binder development

Martijn Broeren- Senior Researcher CE Delft

13:00- 13:15 EU Ecolabel criteria for furniture

Antonio Delre- Project Officer at Joint Research Centre of the European Commission

 

 

13:15-13:45 Expert Panel discussion: Way forward

Antonio Delre- European Commission, Joint Research Centre

Andreas Ahrens – Head of Climate – Inter IKEA Group

Manfred Dunky, Industry Expert-bio-based Materials

Roman Eberharter – President of FENA- European Federation for Furniture Retailers

Rob Beekers, Director New Business Development at Cargill Bio-Industrial Group

 

13:45-14:00 Closing session: SUSBIND Prototype product presentation (spp)-

Stephen WebbCEO RTDS Group

Final address: Oliver Zobell – Project Officer CBE JU

SUSBIND Industry Online Seminar: “From science to production – achievements so far”

SUSBIND is proud to announce its upcoming Industry Online seminar: “From science to production – achievements so far” that will take place on May 18, 2022 from 10:10 to 11:50 CEST. The seminar will showcase the best of project results and findings from our five European industry partners that develop and test bio-based furniture binders for furniture.

You can download the presentations here!

As the climate changes, the furniture of the future will have to be sustainable, multi-functional and efficient and today’s manufacturers are already starting to explore these areas, paving the way for future developments. The wood board industry already having the circular economy in mind currently relies on the use of mainly fossil-based binders, largely formaldehyde-based binders. A number of initiatives are underway to produce alternative binders from renewable resources, but a bio-based binder at industrial scale does not yet exist.

SUSBIND’s collaborative partnership of six research and five industry partners has made substantial progress in developing highly sustainable bio-based binders that will in future replace conventional fossil-based ones currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass products.

The SUSBIND consortium is looking at meeting the future needs and constraints of the furniture industry, consumers and regulatory bodies to reduce formaldehyde emissions across the furniture value chain, as well contributing to decarbonisation of the industry.

The aim of this online seminar is to share experience and present the best of SUSBIND industry project results, to open debates for future trends as well as to attract attention of relevant stakeholders.

New unspecific peroxygenase for the production of epoxidized fatty acids

Unspecific peroxygenases (UPOs) constitute a family of fungal heme-thiolate enzymes which employ hydrogen peroxide to catalyze regio- and stereoselective oxygenation of both aromatic and aliphatic compounds, an interesting reaction with several biotechnological applications. In the frame of the SUSBIND project, the IRNAS-CSIC (Seville), the University of Dresden (Germany), JenaBios SME (Germany), and the “Biotechnology for Lignocellulosic Biomass” group from Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas Margarita Salas (CIB-CSIC, Madrid), UPOs have employed UPOs for the selective production of unsaturated fatty acid epoxides from plant fatty acids and oils to be used as bio-based binders for board production.

Nowadays, several thousands of putative UPO sequences can be found in genetic databases and fungal genomes, but just a few fungal UPOs have been purified and characterized from their natural producers or heterologous expression in other microorganisms. Although there are examples of UPOs expressed in Aspergillus, yeast, or bacteria, the heterologous expression of UPOs is still the bottleneck for UPOs study and further application.

At CIB-CSIC, the limited repertoire of UPOs enzymes available has been expanded with two new UPOs from the ascomycetes Collariella virescens (syn. Chaetomium virescens) and Daldinia caldariorum obtained by heterologous expression of their genes in Escherichia coli as soluble and active enzymes. These results have been published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology. The purified UPOs have been characterized using oleic acid to explore the fatty acid oxyfunctionalization ability of the two new UPOs by gas chromatography spectrometry. 9-11 epoxy oleic is the main product of the CviUPO, with traces of hydroxyl/keto derivatives of oleic acid. In contrast, no epoxides were found in the reaction with DcalUPO, which generates only the hydroxy, keto, and hydroxyl/keto derivatives of oleic acid.

Homology molecular models of these enzymes showed three conserved and two differing residues on the distal side of the heme. These changes cause structural differences reflected in the widening of their substrate access channels to the heme where catalysis occurs, and are relevant for the different oxygenation products obtained from the unsaturated fatty acid by these UPOs.

Distal side of the heme pockets (up) and surfaces (with heme groupo as CPK-colored sticks) in the molecular models of the new CviUPO and DcalUPO.

Reference: Two new unspecific peroxygenases from heterologous expression of fungal genes in Escherichia coli. Linde D., Olmedo A., González-Benjumea A., Renau C., Estévez M., Carro J., Fernández-Fueyo E., Gutiérrez A., Martínez A.T. 2020. Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 18;86(7):e02899-19 https://doi.org/10.1128/AEM.02899-19

Authors of the scientific article L.Linde, J.Carro and A.Gonnález-Benjumea also presenting their research in the SUSBIND online seminar on April 6.

“New technologies from the lab for innovative bio-based binders” – SUSBIND Research Online Seminar

SUSBIND is proud to announce its upcoming Research Online seminar on “New technologies from the lab for innovative bio-based binders” that will take place on April 6, 2022. The seminar will showcase the best of project results and findings from the SUSBIND research project, from our six European scientific partners that develop bio-based furniture binders for furniture.

Download SUSBIND Research Seminar presentations here!

SUSBIND’s collaborative partnership of six research and five industrial partners is making substantial progress in developing highly sustainable bio-based binders. It is envisaged that these binders will in future replace the conventional fossil-based ones currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass products.

The SUSBIND binder aims to achieve a significantly lower carbon footprint and reduce formaldehyde emissions, thus making a meaningful contribution in improving the public health and helping mitigate climate change. Hand in hand with the EU’ Green Deal targets, SUSBIND also provides cutting-edge clean technological innovation by converting carbohydrates and vegetable oils to binder precursors by “mild” technologies.

The European carbohydrate market shows the potential to play an important role as a significant source of alternative binders for the wood board industry. The vegetable oil production in Europe is in its place offering the opportunity for a partial replacement of the actual binder system since sustainability elements indicate a better role as specialty ingredients rather than as commodity chemicals.

This online seminar will showcase the innovative solutions the project delivers in terms of novel technologies, both for enzymatic conversion of lipids and thermo-chemical conversion of carbohydrates which are scalable and applicable in numerous industrial relevant environments.

Here you will discover more on the research innovations established from the lab including fungi as innovative biocatalysts, tailoring UPOs for fatty-acid epoxidation, scaling-up lipid epoxidation with lipases, and new methods and technologies for production of carbohydrate-based binders and lab-scale resin developments.

The aim of this online seminar is to share experience and present the best of SUSBIND research project results, open debates for future trends as well as to attract attention of relevant stakeholders.

AGENDA

Presentations by: Cargill, CIB CSIC, IRNAS, JenaBios, Fraunhofer, TU Dresden, and Wood K plus

Moderation by: Massimo Bregola, Global Technology Lead Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants & Elastomers – Cargill & SUSBIND Scientific Coordinator

10:10-10:20 – Ambition and results of SUSBIND:

Massimo Bregola, Cargill & SUSBIND Scientific Coordinator

10:20-10:35 – Unspecific peroxygenases (UPOs): From fungi to innovative Biocatalysts

Daniel Zänder, CEO JenaBios; Alexander Karich, Scientist at TU Dresden

10:35-10:50 Tailoring UPOs for fatty-acid epoxidation

Lola Linde, Senior Researcher and Juan Carro, Senior Researcher at CIB CSIC;

Alejandro González-Benjumea, Scientist IRNAS

10:50-11:05 – Scale-up lipid epoxidation with lipases

Susanne Zibek, Head of the Bioprocess Development group at Fraunhofer IGB and

Alexander Beck, Scientist at Fraunhofer IGB

11:05-11:15 – A new technology for production of carbohydrate-based binders

Erik Van Herwijnen, Deputy Area Manager at Wood K plus

11:15-11:25 Lab-scale resin development

Wilfried Sailer-Kronlacher, Research Assistant at Wood K plus

11:25-11:45 – Expert panel discussion, followed by Q&A

 

SUSBIND MAKES A SUCCESSFUL YEAR RECAP WITH NEW TECH TOWARDS THE GREEN DEAL

SUSBIND’s collaborative partnership of six research and five industry partners from the EU has made substantial progress this year in developing highly sustainable bio-based binders that will in future replace conventional fossil-based ones currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass products.

Towards the Green Deal

The SUSBIND binder aims at containing a significantly lower carbon footprint, while also reducing formaldehyde emissions and thus making a meaningful contribution in improving the public health and helping mitigate climate change. Hand in hand with the Green Deal targets, SUSBIND also provides cutting-edge clean technological innovation by converting carbohydrates and vegetable oils to binder precursors by “mild” technologies, i.g. by converting carbohydrates to Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and vegetable oils and derivates to epoxides.

SUSBIND adhesive and board samples

New alternative technology to incumbent adhesives

As recently suggested by the Scientific Coordinator, Massimo Bregola of Cargill, at the EFIB conference in Oct in Vienna, Austria the wood board industry of today delivers excellent results both in terms of economic, environmental and social perspectives as consequences of decades of process improvement. A completely new alternative to incumbent adhesive technology is a challenge which requires dedication and collaboration across the whole supply chain.

The European carbohydrate market shows the potential to play an important role as a significant source of alternative binders for the wood board industry. The vegetable oil production in Europe is in its place offering the opportunity for a partial replacement of the actual binder system since sustainability elements indicate a better role as specialty ingredients rather than as commodity chemicals.

The project delivered novel technologies, both for enzymatic conversion of lipids and thermo/chemical conversion of carbohydrates which are scalable and applicable in industrial relevant environments.

Massimo Bregola of Cargill (on the right) presents SUSBIND at EFIB 2021 with Stephen Webb of RTDS (left)

Pilot scale evaluation of a new bio-based binder

Despite the COVID-19 restrictions and regulated access to laboratories and work environments, two Austrian SUSBIND partners, EGGER and Wood K Plus started a pilot scale evaluation of the new bio-based binder system in early 2021. This is one of the most important project milestones, opening the way for increased production capacities.

Sugar syrup as the secret ingredient

In the process of developing bio-based binders, SUSBIND tested several carbohydrate feedstocks like fructose, glucose, maltodextrin and found out that fructose-based adhesives have the fastest cure speed and that Fructose 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural improves the tensile shear strength of the adhesive system.

Production of adhesive precursors from carbohydrates via acidic dehydration and catalyst selection according to green chemistry principles that involved utilisation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural as adhesive crosslinker show promising results of the resin system is that is 85% bio-based. These precursors can be applied directly and the boards containing the SUSBIND adhesive fulfil the standard requirements for indoor furniture quality. The conversion of fructose to HMF was successfully implemented in a continuous microreactor as well as a pressurised batch reactor as shown in this compelling video.

Board hot-pressing and more to come

As a fine recap of the year, the research results were taken from the lab to the factory, the SUSBIND binder was applied to the wood chips in the hot press and the wood particle boards were pressed at the EGGER Group facilities in Austria, as illustrated in this demonstration video.

SUSBIND board pressing at EGGER Group (c) EGGER Group

Stay tuned for the next chapter as the SUSBIND journey will continue next year at our medium-density fibreboard (MDF) producer Valbopan in Portugal, and will then travel north to Sweden, to reach its final destination with our partner and global furniture producer IKEA.

Time ripe for synthetic biology, industrial biotechnology

Research and development in industrial biotechnology contributes to the growing European bioeconomy which according to the European Commission is worth around 614 billion euros and provides approximately 17.5 million jobs.

The leading industrial biotech event that represents this sector is the European Forum for Industrial Biotechnology and the Bioeconomy (EFIB) which opens in Vienna next week on Wednesday, 6 October until Thursday, 7 October.

The EFIB Forum will be held face-to-face which comes as a relief to many deprived of networking opportunities since the outbreak of the Corona virus pandemic in January 2020. Research , industry and SME from the Horizon 2020/BBI JU projects  SUSBIND and SUSFERT will be present at the event.

Both projects are hosted at the stand by communications partner RTDS. BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, plans to visit the RTDS stand on Wednesday, where he will meet RTDS CEO, Stephen Webb, and project partners  project to discuss progress made, and challenges ahead in achieving a circular bioeconomy in Europe.

SUSBIND is a collaborative European research project in the field of bioeconomy that aims to replace conventional fossil-fuel binders currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture with highly sustainable bio-based binders. By substituting fossil-based chemicals with those from renewable resources, carbon footprint of mass-produced furniture products will be reduced. A sustainable and economically viable binder will increase the marketability of bio-based furniture products.

Project partner Wood K plus, a leading research institute in the area wood and wood-related renewable resources developing the alternative bio-based adhesives based on carbohydrates together with EGGER have recently completed the pilot scale evaluation of a new bio-based binder system. “This is one of the most important project milestones, opening the way for increased production capacities” say Erik van Herwijnen, Team Leader “Advanced Bonding” at Wood K plus.

Scientific Coordinator, Massimo Bregola of Cargill is encouraged that this will lead to major breakthroughs. “The expertise brought together under the SUSBIND project will finally see development of a bio-based binder able to compete on an industrial scale. As we become increasingly demanding of green production methods in all areas, SUSBIND will provide Europe with a competitive advantage” he says.

Massimo Bregola- Global Technology Lead Coatings, Adhesives, Sealants & Elastomers – Cargill

Additionally, the SUSBIND partners will join BBI JU Executive Director, Philippe Mengal, and Sustainability and External Affairs Lead, Cargill Bioindustrial, Marty Muenzmaier, on the podium for EFIB’s final session OUTLOOK: The pathway to the future for industrial biotechnology. Both SUSBIND and SUSFERT are funded by the Biobased Industry Joint Undertaking (BBI-JU) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Programme.

SUSFERT is developing new biobased fertilisers to reduce dependency on unsustainable phosphorus imports into the EU. These fertilisers include novel controlled-release coatings from lignin as well as lignosulfonate-based soil improvers originating from wood pulp.  Waste sidestreams such as struvite is utilised to substitute imported phosphorus. The loss of nutrients from fertilisers in agriculture are being addressed by using probiotics to increase nutrient availability as the demand for food and feed rises.

Meet the SUSBIND and SUSFERT experts and discover the advances for the bioeconomy at Stand 5 during EFIB.

View the best moments from EFIB 2021 here.