BIOFOAM project aims to develop new types of aliphatic block co-polyesters
[poly(ester-amide)s and poly(ester-urethane)s], and industrially
important foams made thereof. The combination of inexpensive renewable
bio-source based feedstock, efficient chemical synthesis, and
high-value foam applications leads to an innovative approach to
make biopolymers competitive in the market place. The new low
cost biopolymers (<1 euro/kg) provide opportunities for tailored
biodegradability and performance properties. A foam manufacturing
process is optimised for biopolymer processing by using newly
developed 3-D foaming process simulation software. An integrated
life-cycle management analysis methodology directs the engineering
decisions at each stage of the product development cycle. Environmental,
economic and societal aspects are simultaneously assessed. The
project is managed following a developped and commercial technology
staging work-process. A multi-disciplinary approach of world leading
experts in complementary industrial and academic fields is used
to achieve the BIOFOAM project objectives.
biofoam project aims to develop new types of aliphatic block co-polyesters
that will tackle the biopolymer issues in an innovative fashion.
By way of selecting an inexpensive bio-source feedstock, new block-co-polyesters
will be synthesised for use in rigid and flexible foam applications.
All possible routes for developing an inexpensive bio-source feedstock
will be explored. Via life-cycle management analysis (LCMA), various
biopolymers versus petroleum-based polymers are compared for use
in foams to determine the most viable options. Based on patented
technology of the University Twente, block co-polyesters of the
type polyester-co-amide and polyester-co-urethane biopolymers
are first prepared on a laboratory scale. Subsequently, selected
biopolymer compositions that meet the criteria of low cost, recyclability,
environmental friendliness and performance properties for targeted
foam applications are manufactured on a pilot plant scale. An
intensive property characterisation combined with numerical modelling
of the foaming process guides the final biopolymer selection.
Existing foam processing equipment is optimised for maximising
the structural performance of the biopolymer. Eventually, specific
foam applications are tested and presented as alternatives to
selected polyurethane, polystyrene and emulsion polymer foam applications.
The biofoams recyclability is studied in terms of material recovery,
bio-source recovery, energy recovery, and biodegradability. An
innovative life-cycle management analysis is used to support all
critical decisions in the various work packages.
The biofoam project objectives are:
define and use a renewable bio-source based feedstock for the
synthesis of recyclable aliphatic block-co-polyesters with an
emphasis on poly(ester-co-amide)s and poly(ester-co-urethane)s.
2. chemically synthesise with high efficiency a range of block
co-polyesters that meet the processing and intrinsic property
requirements of a foam application at a cost of less than 1 euro
3. develop industrially important biopolymer foams that contribute
to the efficient and cost effective recyclability of waste streams.
This includes at least one novel biopolymer for a high value,
foam market application currently dominated by polyurethane, polystyrene
and emulsion polymers.
4. develop a numerical model that allows quantitative 3-D predictions
of a foaming process for chemical and physical blowing agents
and that takes into account the novel biopolymer rheology and
5. develop and apply a life-cycle management analysis (LCMA) method
that integrates economic, environmental and societal considerations
to direct the renewable bio-source, biopolymer and biofoam developments.
Integrate the methodology into a software package to provide a
European work-process guideline for new product developments.
Dow Benelux N.V.
British Vita PLC
Tel.: +44 1616 431133
Fax: +44 1616 533722
||Marinus VAN DE GRAAF
University of Twente
Tel.: +31 534892900
Fax: +31 534892479
||Philippe LE BOZEC
Association pour la recherche et le développement
Tel.: +33 1 40519050
Fax: +33 1 40510094
Tel.: +49 711 1212177
Fax: +49 711 1212291
Agrotechnological Research Institute
Tel.: +31 317475000
Fax: +31 317475347