Research Project Summary Information
Biodegradable, High-strength Composites from Annually Renewable Resources(ST10227-1)
e2e Materials, Inc.
A new branch of composite science employs natural fibers with soy-based resins to replace petroleum-based polymers and wood/synthetic fiber sources. These green composites can be stronger, lighter, and less expensive than particleboard or medium density fiberboard (PB/MDF), which are used extensively in production of furniture and cabinetry and can off-gas formaldehyde, a known carcinogen.
Objectives included: 1) research applications and customers; 2) develop applications; 3) address issues related to high-volume production; and, 4) identify and develop supply-chain partners, including sampling New York soy protein and exploring New York fiber sources.
The market for PB/MDF is $6.3B, and approximately 80% of that is used to manufacture furniture and cabinetry. Green composites can offer greater performance for less weight and use less energy to produce than regular PB/MDF. Other alternative composites, like straw-based PB/MDF, are much more expensive, less available, and do not perform as well as regular PB/MDF; however, e2e Materials’ biocomposite does not have those disadvantages.
The e23 Materials green composite is thinner, stronger and lighter than PB/MDF. At similar production volumes, the cost-effectiveness compares favorably to a PB/MDF plant. Preliminary results suggest the product dramatically lowers the embodied energy of the products it replaces.
During the project, preliminary manufacturing capacity was increased, enabling a prototype level of production of 19,000 square feet of product per year.
Conversion of a typical continuous PB/MDF manufacturing plant to the e2e process could produce 240 million square feet of panel per year, at a competitive cost. Major reductions in energy consumption are possible because the e2e Materials boards are thinner and the operating temperature is lower. Energy costs based on $0.09/kWh equal 45,620 MWh per year at a capacity of 0.19 kWh per square foot, which is approximately one-third of the energy costs for PB/MDF.
The Contractor employs 12 full- and part-time employees and is planning for additional growth. They are working with a large furniture manufacturer, among many other industrial customers.
e2e Materials, Inc.
239 Cherry Street
Ithaca, NY 14850
Indigenous/Renewable Energy Resources
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - Environment & Energy Res