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Inorganic Polymer Bio-composites (IPBC) - LK0850

This is a LINK project involving thefollowing collaborative partners:
University of Bangor, University of York, B&Q Ltd, Bical Ltd, Bioflame Ltd, Botanix Ltd, CS Process Engineering (Compak) Ltd, Home Grown Cereals Association (HGCA), Ineos Ltd, Velcourt Ltd

The overall aim of the project is to develop a generic production methodology with sound underpinning science and technology, leading to pre-commercial prototypes of general purpose boards that are wholly derived from sustainable resources and which make maximum use of agricultural/forestry lignocellulosic crop surplus/low value by-products. The boards will have the advantages of being inexpensive, environmentally benign, chemically and biologically resistant, and physically and mechanically stable. This development will deliver a durable product with high performance and long service-life which will provide a good carbon sink and which will bring a positive environmental contribution by utilising waste streams and by-products of other commercial activities. Through the utilisation of a variety of raw materials the project will also aim to minimise its impact on the environmental and biodiversity and maximise socio-economic benefits in terms of optimum utilisation of raw materials, and added value to farming communities, and manufacturing and retail industry. A pre-commercial trial will be conducted in a major retail outlet to assess commercial viability and competitiveness.
The primary objective is to develop a generic, flexible and sustainable methodology for the production of high performance general purpose boards. The methodology will be economically and technically viable, and be based on non-toxic and environmentally benign substances. The secondary objective is to prove the commercial viability of the biorefinery concept by demonstrating the utilisation of low value biomass resources and residues in multiple, correlated products.

Specific objectives are:
1. Develop a technically viable and commercially sound method for production of high performance general purpose boards.
2. Develop adequate analytical methods to enable the study, understanding and optimisation of the product formulation and prototype products.
3. Develop a methodology for commercially viable production of silicate binder from biomass.
4. Develop effective biomass-derived hardeners.
5. Develop in-situ hardeners to simplify processing steps and improve performance.
6. Optimise substrate pre-treatment methodologies to maximise in-service performance (particularly mechanical) and commercial value of extraction and fractionation.
7. Develop understanding of the influence of surface characteristics of the formulation elements on the manufacturing and in-use performance.
8. Gain sufficient understanding of key component and process parameters to provide a generic methodology for production of bio-based boards from a variety of substrates.
9. Use the understanding to control key parameters to tailor performance to application requirements and to enable technology transfer into other applications
10. Enable the translation and application of laboratory research into scale-up production of prototype boards.
11. Demonstrate technical and commercial viability of the biorefinery process.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2008

To: 2013

Cost: £728,511
Contractor / Funded Organisations
B&Q, University of Wales, Bangor, PQ Silicas UK Ltd, Bioflame Ltd, Biomass Industrial Crops Ltd, Home Grown Cereals Authority, Velcourt Ltd, C S Process Engineering Ltd, Velcourt Ltd (Farm Management), University - York
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Sustainable Farming Systems