Swedish Scientists Developing Greener Fiberboard

Småland, Sweden, June 2, 2020--Two new projects at Linnaeus University in Sweden aim at reducing the impact of fiberboards on the environment. This is done by developing a new type of adhesive based on starch and a water-repellent formulation based on tall-oil. 

Fiberboards are widely used in the furniture and construction industries. 

There are many types of fiberboards with varying density. These versatile boards that consist of wood fibers pressed together under high pressure are used frequently in furniture, joinery and buildings. But even though they are made with wood as a base material, it is possible to make them even more environmentally friendly.

"Most types of fiberboards contain adhesives as a binder and water repellents to protect the wood fibers. These are often based on compounds that are not very environmentally friendly. By using more natural products, we can reduce the environmental impact of the boards and also increase the possibilities for recycling", says Stergios Adamopoulos, professor of forest products at Linnaeus University.

Stergios is responsible for two new research projects aimed at this. The projects have a total budget of SEK 12.4 million, of which 6.0 million is a contribution from Sweden’s innovation agency Vinnova, within the framework of the strategic innovation program BioInnovation. One project will develop and test adhesives based on modified starch. These may replace the petroleum-based formaldehyde resins used today and also make it possible to recycle fiberboards instead of incinerating them, as now.

The second project aims to utilize residual products formed in the distillation of tall-oil to create water repellent formulations for fiberboards. In addition to replacing paraffin wax, which is also petroleum-derived, with renewable mixtures, the idea is that these will provide better water resistance of furniture components.

Decades ago, laminates were invented in Sweden.