The project focuses on the development of 100% biobased and non-toxic polyurethane for end products in the textile and synthetic rubber industry. This will strengthen the leading position of knowledge institutions and companies in the border region in the development and use of biobased materials.
The Bio NIPU project therefore focuses on research into alternative, non-toxic building blocks for the synthesis of polyurethane. Fully renewable raw materials – such as residual flows from sugar refining and the production of biodiesel and natural oils and fats – are used to develop bio-based polyurethanes.
The production of biopolymers for commercial applications is increasing year after year. The transition to bio-based materials has also been initiated within the synthetic rubber and textile industry. In this way, the textile sector aims to produce at least 20% of its products from bio-materials by 2030. Biopolymers for textile coatings and synthetic rubber (elastomers), such as polyurethane, are only available for a limited number of applications and are not fully bio-based. For example, polyurethane contains substances associated with asthma and other chronic diseases. Therefore, a proposal to restrict the use of such substances was previously adopted at European level.
Centexbel, Maastricht University, and Thomas More Kempen will combine their expertise with that of Limburg Urethaan Chemie (LUC) and Stahl International for the development of high-quality bio NIPU with the desired properties. The sustainability of this bio NIPU will be evaluated through life cycle analysis in order to identify the most suitable composition for large-scale production. This will result in 100% renewable and non-toxic end products for the textile and synthetic rubber industry.