Application of Enzymatically Treated Lignin Oligomers as Lignopolyols For A Full Replacement of Commercial Polyols in Polyurethane Foam Formulation
Biomed J Sci & Tech Res, 24: 17898-17904
Antunes J, Levée T, Ihalainen P
Lignin has shown to have a great potential in replacing oil in many applications, including resins, polyols, polymers, coatings, and composites. The current case study describes the application of the selected lignin oligomeric fraction produced by a novel enzymatic lignin fractionation process (METNIN™) as a suitable lignopolyol to completely replace a commercial polyol in polyurethane rigid foam formulations. More specifically, the preparation of liquid lignopolyols with a high lignin content (up to 40%) by oxypropylation and its full utilization in the polyurethane rigid foam formulation was successfully demonstrated. In addition, selected technical specifications of foam demonstrators were characterized, including closed cell count, water uptake and compression characteristics. These specifications were all within industrial standards for rigid foam applications. The lignin loading in the lignopolyol was a major factor determining the properties of the foam and further studies are needed to further optimised and fully validate the specifications.