Materials eco-innovation - Liquid wood - ARBOFORM ® by TECNARO
Lignin is a solid substance in wood emerging as a by-product in the pulp and paper production. There are many sources of lignin. The paper industry produces around 60 million tonnes a year. It is usually burned or processed into animal feed and cement. In combination with resins, flax or other natural fibres, lignin can form a mass that can be processed like any other thermoplastic material.
In 2009, TECNARO produced 275 tonnes of Arboform and a host of other biodegradable and renewable polymers. The company has also succeeded in setting an attractive price point. Regular plastics cost between €1 and €5 per kilogramme, while the price for Arboform starts at €2.50 per kilogramme, a figure that is expected to drop as sales increase (European Patent Office, 2010, http://www.epo.org/topics/innovation-and-economy/european-inventor/inventions/2010/bio-plastics_de.html).
● price: regular plastics cost between €1 and €5 per kilogramme, while the price for Arboform starts at €2.50 per kilogramme
● increasing demand from automotive sector: applications with Porsche, Daimler and Fischer
● increasing demand for applications in in children's toys, furniture, castings for watches, designer loudspeakers, degradable golf tees and even coffins
The resulting bioplastic Arboform can be formed into different very precise shapes and is extremely stable. Just like wood, it eventually decomposes in landfills, instead of lingering around for thousands of years like "normal" plastic.