Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

New Resins Derived From Crops For the Manufacture of Composite Materials - NF0606

This project is intended to take towards commercialisation the results of a current DEFRA-supported LINK project. The key scientific benefits derived to date from our LINK work encompass improved methodologies for the synthesis, functionalisation and polymerisation of common glycerides of unsaturated fatty acids contained within vegetable oil and other non-food crops. These glycerides have been used to produce co-polymers for partial replacement of the acrylate and styrene feedstocks currently used. From the commercial point of view, resins for the production of chipboard, MDF and added value composite materials such as laminate flooring and ceramic tiles are important commodity and speciality chemicals produced on a scale of 2-3 million tonnes in Europe alone.The market opportunity is potentially huge if a sustainable biopolymer with the correct properties can be delivered. The resins produced will also provide part of a technology package which is particularly suitable for enterprises in developing countries for manufacture using indigenous raw materials.

The objectives of the project involve scale up of resin synthesis to industrial level, dissemination of information on the aims and objectives of the project to appropriate industrial concerns, identification of industrial collaborators and plant scale trials of composite material manufacture.

The objectives of the project match closely the aims of the call for proposals – “to assess, develop or disseminate technologies and/or supply chains that further the non-food use of crops as industrial raw materials”.

The ouput from the project will be used to market a technology transfer package which will include fine tuning of the resin composition to maintain the performance characteristics of the composite material, alteration of the resin formulation to adapt to existing capital equipment, negotiation of subcontracted resin synthesis, and design of new plant and establishment of quality control procedures where in-house resin production is the preferred alternative.
The three scientific and technical objectives of the work are as listed in Section 9:

1.Scale up of the synthesis of rapeseed derivatives and resin synthesis for a maximum of two candidates from the 5 kg level to one metric tonne.

The key problems to be addressed here are temperature control of the polymerisation reaction and control of the mixing process to ensure stable emulsification, correct emulsion viscosity, correct particle size and correct solids content. The influence of the scaling up procedure on the properties of typical composite materials will also be examined. We have previous experience (with Advance Enterprises) in the scale up of a similar acrylate polymer.

2.Accurate pricing of the scaled up resin synthesis, identification potential markets, dissemination of information concerning the project to companies of potential interest and identification of a maximum of two industrial partner to collaborate in plant scale manufacture of composite materials during the one year span of the project.

It is anticipated that the industrial partner will contribute the use of manufacturing facilities as an in-kind contribution, though this has not been included in the financial summary

3.Life cycle analysis of the resin manufacture process and the composite material manufacture process.

The assessment is concerned with the environmental impact of mutiprocess industrial operations which may encompass the entire life cycle of the product from raw material extraction to end-of-life management alternatives The assessment may also be used to identify ways to reduce costs or modify constraints on operations, with a view to increasing company profitability.

Project Documents
• Final Report : New Resins Derived From Crops For the Manufacture of Composite Materials   (6469k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2005

To: 2005

Cost: £116,894
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Advance Enterprises Limited, Cargill Industrial Oils & Lubricants, Boustead Consulting Ltd, University - Keele
Arable Farming              
Oilseed Rape              
Fields of Study
Non-Food Crops