Waste Income

    In this post, I continue a series of ( one , two ) articles on waste processing technologies. The next step is the waste of food production, which can be used in the creation of various new materials. Today I’ll tell you about an interesting technology for the production of particle board (chipboard) using bioglue based on molassesand whey. The method developed in Tomsk is based on the process of producing an adhesive base with a specialized strain of microorganisms, and the biotechnology for producing an adhesive base itself allows the creation of chipboard without the use of toxic formaldehyde resin. At the same time, the price of bioglue is quite competitive, and ecological particleboard can be obtained almost without changing the usual production technology - after all, the new material has passed the most stringent and serious technical tests.

    Chemistry and life ...
    I am sure that among the readers there are many specialists who are somehow connected with chemistry and chemical production. Indeed, modern advances in the creation of new materials and unique compounds are impressive. However, in addition to the rapid development of standard chemical technologies, the direction is now actively developing"Green" chemistry. Especially in conjunction with advances in biotechnology. New materials enter the arena, the production and use of which minimally affects the environment. Ecology in a broad sense - from idea and production - to use and subsequent disposal. But against this background, there are many technologies that are frozen in their development. To these I include a variety of materials and substances that use phenol-containing compoundsand pitches. If for specialized industrial materials (polymers, varnishes, glues, textolite, getinaks, etc.) you can’t do without them yet, then some materials for domestic applications can now be made without using such dangerous toxic compounds. First of all, in the production of furniture - after all, most budget cabinets, tables, office furniture are made of chipboard. Even in the State Duma, a scandal broke out recently, due to the fact that in the parliaments' offices the concentration of formaldehyde resin vapors exceeds the MPC by several times.
    Here is a small (45 sec) video

    What can we say about schools, kindergartens and other budgetary institutions where furniture is supplied at the lowest prices, so its quality and environmental friendliness leaves much to be desired. I think many of you are now reading this article at a table in which formaldehyde emission continues - after all, this process takes about 4 years until the moment when the concentration of formaldehyde becomes close to the MPC. This is due to the fact that during the production of particleboard it is not possible to completely bind the resin during pressing and the uncured phenol-formaldehyde resin may contain up to 11% free phenol. And this is a very dangerous trend. After all, formaldehyde resins are recognized as the strongest carcinogens that cause allergies, metabolic disorders, and the most formidable consequence for humans can be the development of cancer. This danger is understood by Western manufacturers, therefore, in the manufacture of chipboard, it is mandatory to cover with protective films (in the left figure) directly at the factory, but this significantly increases the cost of the final product. Most Russian manufacturers, unfortunately, do not.
    On the left, the stove is more environmentally friendly.

    Although (by and large) this also does not save the situation. Packed in this way, the resin all remains in the stove and can be much more dangerous.

    How do chipboards do?
    Let's talk a little about the production of chipboard. In fact, the technology is quite simple and well-established in many countries. Raw materials (wood, industrial wood processing waste) are crushed into dust, dried, mixed with formaldehyde resin and wax. Then a plate is formed and it is subjected to preliminary pressing at a certain temperature for some time. Technological modes of pressing depend on the thickness of the plate, the quality of the feedstock and the concentration of the resin.

    If there is little resin, pressing goes much worse and longer. This leads to significant energy costs and equipment wear. Therefore, the resin sometimes does not regret. Preformed plates are subjected to final pressing on a powerful finishing press. The finished plate is cut to size and sent to a ventilated warehouse for weathering for several days. It is forbidden to ship a fresh stove. She is extremely smelly and dangerous. Particleboard production is not environmentally friendly. Talking about the good health of workers in such industries is also not necessary. Although there is a nice videochipboard manufacturing process in the United States, shot very beautifully, in which important points have been carefully missed and you will not see a single worker in the final plate molding workshop. Everything is automated! Which, in principle, is the most correct for such industries.

    Alternatives and Prospects
    As you already understand, chipboard production is not so difficult. If you imagine the situation that the formaldehyde adhesive base will be replaced by another, then without changing the technological cycle, you can make the stove absolutely environmentally friendly. However, the requirements for the replaced adhesive composition must clearly meet all technological requirements, as is the case with formaldehyde resin. That is, the glue should be the same (as close as possible) for different characteristics - consistency, adhesive ability, density, viscosity, pH, etc. Well and the most important thing is to be competitive in price. The biotechnologists from Tomsk succeeded in creating such a substance. The substance was obtained as a result of microbiological studies of special strains of microorganisms, which were subsequently studied and described.
    Certificate of Deposit

    The approximate essence of technology is as follows. In a special reactor at a temperature of 22 gr. With loaded waste food production of sugar - molasses and cheese whey. Molasses is the basis of glue, serum is a source of trace elements for the reproduction of microorganisms. A strain of microorganisms is added and within 2 days the biomass of bacteria produces an adhesive substance - destran . It is a complex polysaccharide with a huge molecular weight molecule.

    After the completion of the laboratory stage of research (with the support, by the way, of my very respected Bortnik Foundation ), the stage of creating a semi-industrial reactor for the production of bioglue was started, which was successfully completed by creating a trial batch of bioglue for industrial testing at one of the chipboard manufacturing plants. The figure shows the scheme for producing bioglue.

    Glue tests at the industrial enterprise were successful. Particleboard slab samples were obtained and new material tested in accordance with GOST RF 10632-2007. New plates comply with GOST, and in some parameters even surpass it. There were some differences. In particular, the plates were slightly darker than usual. At the time of pressing the slabs, the smell of fresh pastries began to spread in production, as in a bakery. And the workers immediately began to say that scientists had arrived again and would bake pies. Rospotrebnadzor checked the air quality and did not identify any dangers, while the concentration of formaldehyde vapor in the workshop fell 80 times compared to standard production. Also, the finished plates are not subjected to microbiological insemination,
    Test results of slabs and technological drains of production

    Important in this technology is the disposal of food waste. In particular, whey is the real scourge of dairy production. Despite the fact that many very useful and valuable substances, for example, albumin, are dissolved in this product, but the processing of whey is an extremely difficult process. Therefore, many dairies drain whey into the sewers, while paying decent environmental fines. Serum draining is dangerous and can cause serious biological contamination. The production of bio-adhesive for particleboard would reduce the environmental burden of dairy production, thereby increasing the production culture and environmental situation. Bioglue obtained in Tomsk can also be used for the production of wood pellets, fabrics, and various fertilizers. As for the chipboard, it maintains its environmental friendliness for the entire period of its operation, and its disposal is not a problem. When hit in the ground, the stove is destroyed by soil microorganisms within a few months, turning into fertilizer. In turn, the formaldehyde plate for microorganisms is toxic, therefore, their disposal is difficult.

    Technology outlook
    The project is currently at the stage of readiness for industrial implementation. Until recent political events, serious interest in this technology was shown by foreign companies that operate in the market for the production of environmentally friendly materials. But these contacts were abruptly terminated. It is difficult to evaluate the prospects for the development of this technology in Russia now, but the authors of the technology hope that there can be serious investors who will not let another interesting Russian technology go to the shelf. One way or another, I, as a popularizer of science and technology, cannot remain indifferent. I am ready to answer your questions and comments, and if there are questions that I can’t answer, I will personally pass them on to the team implementing this interesting project. I don’t give direct links, as the site rules do not allow this.

    A short video in conclusion

    Have a nice day and interesting technologies!

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