At a factory in Belgium, a new breed of products is being developed from the fibrous remains of sugar cane.
It is a raw material with plenty of potential. Wim Van Rhijn, the General Manager of TransFurans Chemicals explains: “In the Dominican Republic we start from sugar cane. First the sugar is extracted, and then you obtain the bagasse. This is our starting raw material.
Hans Hoydonckx, the Business Development Manager of TransFurans Chemicals continues: “This woody material is cooked at a high temperature and from the cooking you get a pure chemical, and this is called Furfural, it smells like almonds”.
“This is the basis of our new products, so we have a full polymer form of furfuryl alcohol and we impregnate various substrates with it.”
The bioresin made by TransFurans Chemicals aims to be a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly replacement for oil-based plastics. “The first example is the interior market,” explains Hoydonckx. “There we make decorative high pressure laminates. We also made components for the automotive industry, so this is also bioresin, moulded at high temperatures, but here we replaced the paper with a natural fibre”. more (www.euronews.com)..
Potential Products from Furfural
From www.transfurans.be and www.furan.com:
Since 1972 this plant, at that time part of the chemical division of the Quaker Oats Company has been supplying foundry resin manufacturers with furfuryl alcohol. Other furanic resins, such as biocarb and biorez formulations and specialty furfural-based chemicals are produced by TFC’s high qualified production team.
TransFurans Chemicals (TFC) is a pioneer in furan chemicals and a keen investor in innovation and actively expands the application platform of its products through the development of biomass based resin systems, polyols and environmentally friendly solvents.
Int. Lignin Institute Umbrella Programme (“Ecobinders”) “Since 2002, the thematic network EUROLIGNIN financed by the European Union, has been analysing existing and new research approaches in the lignin field”.
EU Commission 6th Framework Programme (“Biocomp”): “This project aims to develop engineering composite materials made entirely from renewable resources. These bio-composites are composed of bio-derived resins reinforced by natural fibres and address the issue of environmental sustainability for future consumer and engineering products”
EU Commission 7th Framework Programme (“BioAgrotex”): “The basic objective of the project is to develop new high end textile products, based for 100% on natural fibres and bio-based or biopolymers.”
EU Commission 7th Framework Programme (“Natex”):”Promote the use of natural fibers (hemp and flax) in structural applications”
EU Commission 7th Framework Programme (Advanced WOODbased Composite Materials and Components “WOODY”): “Currently the world of polymeric composite materials is almost exclusively based on fossil derived components. The non-renewable global oil resources are being more and more exploited each year, as a consequence of the growing demand for plastics engineering materials.”
EU Commission 7th Framework Programme (Fire-Resist”): “This project that aims to improve the fire performance of high performance polymer matrix composite materials for the transport sectors.”