The road to 100% bio-based polyurethanes

The road to 100% bio-based polyurethanes

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The Bio NIPU project is a partnership to develop a 100% bio-based and non-toxic polyurethane for use in the textile and synthetic rubber industries.


Research of bio-based alternatives for polyurethane synthesis

With growing consumer demand for sustainable products, the rubber and textile industries are increasingly keen to incorporate bio-based materials in the things they make.

The choice of bio-based materials available to them is limited, however the portfolio is growing every day; this includes biobased polyurethanes. At the moment the average biobased content of these systems is between 40-60% and the limited availability of commercial biobased isocyanates and the difficult chemical process to make new biobased isocyanates on small scale makes it difficult to reach higher values. Upshot: we need to innovate to create a truly sustainable synthesis route to make polyurethanes, without using the traditional isocyanates and polyols chemistry.

Enter the Bio NIPU research project

The Bio NIPU (Non-Isocyanate PolyUrethane) project, of which Stahl is a member, focuses on research into breakthrough bio-based and non-toxic materials for the synthesis of polyurethane on a semi-industrial scale. The goal is to employ fully renewable resources, such as waste from sugar refineries and the production of biofuels, natural oils and fats, plus enable knowledge centers and companies in Europe to reinforce their leadership in the development and application of bio-based materials.


A new generation of automotive interiors

Stahl’s role within the Bio NIPU project is to conduct the initial performance tests on synthesis candidates. Later, once the process has been scaled up, we will formulate the new resins into top coats and conduct large-scale compounding and application tests. These top coats will be assessed for their resistance to the environmental and physical pressures typically experienced in automotive interiors.

Because the goal is to support the textile and synthetic rubber industries in creating end products that are non-toxic and 100% renewable, the sustainability of this Bio NIPU will be assessed using Life Cycle Analysis.


Research program partners

Besides Stahl, the other partners in this potentially groundbreaking research program are European textile knowledge center Centexbel, Maastricht University, Thomas More Kempen university of applied sciences, and Limburg Urethaan Chemie (LUC). The Bio NIPU project is funded by the European Union. The Bio NIPU project has started in September 2019 and will run for three years. 


Want to be part of the User Committee?

During the program we will give presentations to inform stakeholders and partners about the progress of the research and development, and about participation possibilities like commercial testing. Be part of our User Committee. Please fill in the form below and Frank Brouwer will contact you with more information on how to join the User Committee.


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The road to 100% bio-based polyurethanes
Frank Brouwer
Senior Green Technology Chemist