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National Non-Food Crops Centre Natural Material Sources For Composite Materials Dr Ian Law, NNFCC Life Cycle Assessment for Composites Workshop, Plymouth.

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Presentation on theme: "National Non-Food Crops Centre Natural Material Sources For Composite Materials Dr Ian Law, NNFCC Life Cycle Assessment for Composites Workshop, Plymouth."— Presentation transcript:

1 National Non-Food Crops Centre Natural Material Sources For Composite Materials Dr Ian Law, NNFCC Life Cycle Assessment for Composites Workshop, Plymouth April 7 th 2005, The National Non-Food Crops Centre, Science Park York YO10 5DG +44 (0)

2 National Non-Food Crops Centre Why Use Them? Which Components? Agricultural Sources Current UK Situation Outlook Natural Material Sources For Composite Materials

3 National Non-Food Crops Centre Environmental Benefits Non-petroleum, renewable resource CO 2 Neutral (?) (Potentially) Compostable Energy recovery Performance Strength, weight, flexibility Inherent properties Handling/processing advantages Why Use Them?

4 National Non-Food Crops Centre Fibres Replace glass fibres, polyesters, etc Resins Replace epoxides and polyurethanes Replace plastics with PLA, rPE Plasticers / protectants Replace phthalates, etc Which Components?

5 National Non-Food Crops Centre Fibres Specific Crops or waste straw Flax, hemp, nettle, miscanthus, kenaf Lignocellulose (wheat straw) Resins (mostly) oleo-chemical-based Plastics (PLA, PE) Plasticers / protectants Oleo-chemicals and anti-oxidants Agricultural Sources

6 National Non-Food Crops Centre Examples of UK Non-Food Crops CropArea (ha) Product Cost (£/tonne)* OSR82,000 Oil 145 Linseed32,000 Oil 170 Flax Nil? Fibre N/a Hemp2800 Fibre/Oil 110 Crambe4000 Oil 150 Borage1800 Oil/Chems 1500 Echium~100 Oil/Chems 3500 SRC**2000 Energy Miscanthus***3000 Energy/Fibre 25 * Cost of seed (not SRC and Miscanthus) ** Short rotation coppice willow *** Miscanthus (Elephant Grass) can also be used as a premium horse bedding £100/tonne

7 National Non-Food Crops Centre Hemp Fibre Crops A Fibre-only or a Fibre/Oil Dual crop

8 National Non-Food Crops Centre Hemp Fibre Crops As a Fibre Crop: 3m – 4m tall Spring sown Rapidly maturing 6 – 7 Tonnes / Ha Requires virtually no pesticides or herbicides No subsidy under single farm payment scheme

9 National Non-Food Crops Centre Hemp Fibre Crops As a Dual Crop: m tall Spring sown Rapidly maturing 1.5 T / Ha straw 1.25T/Ha seed (£350/T contract)

10 National Non-Food Crops Centre Miscanthus Fibre Crops Perennial: primarily an energy crop Takes years to reach maturity Financial aid for establishment costs

11 National Non-Food Crops Centre Miscanthus Fibre Crops Weed control is critical for establishment Mature crop suppresses all weeds So far, no serious pathogens or pests in the UK Requires very little fertiliser inputs (1 st year only) Leaf mould supplies mulch in subsequent years Estimated lifetime: 15 – 20 years

12 National Non-Food Crops Centre Processing Fibre Crops Retting takes place in the field (August) Crop is turned, baled, and delivered to processor Mechanical processing separates bast fibres from woody inner stem (hurds) Long, medium and short fibres produced Short fibres generally employed in non-textile applications “Fibre architecture” is important in composite performance

13 National Non-Food Crops Centre Processing Fibre Crops Alternative retting processes under investigation (eg enzymatic) Green de-cortication under investigation Other de-cortication techniques being examined Most developments are aimed at producing very high quality fibres at lower cost Alternative uses for hurds (shiv) required!

14 National Non-Food Crops Centre Crop Waste: Wheat Straw Products already developed and marketed in USA, Australia, China (DURRA Brand straw panels) The UK Exports technology for straw board manufacture (PU composites) 100 million tonnes of straw are produced annually in the UK

15 National Non-Food Crops Centre Renewable Resins Aiming for 100% renewable composites! Replace PU and formaldehyde/epoxy resins with plant-based alternatives US led, eg in modified soya oils, but also plenty of other examples. Some oils contain required functionality: others require chemical modification.

16 National Non-Food Crops Centre Solvents Biofuels C8 C10 C12 C14 C16 C18 C20 C22 C24 C26 Surfactants Cosmetics Lubricants Polymers Caprylic Capric Lauric Myristic Palmitic Stearic Oleic Linoleic Linolenic Arachidonic Erucic Lignoceric Rap Soy Sun Lin Pal Pko Coc PalCocPko Coc Rap Cra Pean Vegetable Oil Feedstock Fatty Acid Market Sectors

17 National Non-Food Crops Centre CH 3 (CH 2 ) 5 CHCH 2 (CH 2 ) 6 COOH OH Ricinoleic Acid (Castor) (CH 2 ) 7 COOH CH 3 (CH 2 ) 4 CH CHCH 2 O Vernolic Acid (Veronia) Readily-reacted fatty acids Main sources can’t be grown in UK

18 National Non-Food Crops Centre Fatty Acids requiring further activation CH 3 (CH 2 ) 7 (CH 2 ) 11 COOH Erucic Acid (HEAR, crambe) CH 3 CH 2 CH 2 CH 2 (CH 2 ) 6 COOH Alpha-Linolenic Acid (Linseed, hemp) CH 3 (CH 2 ) 7 (CH 2 ) 7 COOH Oleic Acid (HO-rape)

19 National Non-Food Crops Centre Vegetable oils that could be grown in the UK Chain length NameSourceUses 8caprylic acidCupheaFuel, Detergent 10capric acidCupheaFuel, Detergent 12lauric acidCuphea, CorianderDetergent 14myristic acidCupheaDetergent, soap 18petroselinic acidCoriander, carrot, parsleyPlastics, detergent 18γ-linolenicEvening primrose, borage Pharmaceuticals 18calendic acidCalendulaNylon, lubricants 18Ricinoleic acidLesquerellaResins, dyes, lubricants 18Vernolic acidVernoniaEpoxy resins, paints 20Eicosanoic acidLimnanthesLubricants, cosmetics 22ErucicRapeseed, CrambeNylons, erucamide, lubricants, cosmetics

20 National Non-Food Crops Centre Chemical Modification of Fatty Acids Amenable to a wide variety of catalysed chemical modifications Increase value of common fatty acids by chemical modification Epoxidation of Oleic Acid and Oleic Esters Peracetic Acid (resin/acetic acid) Enzyme (eg Novozym 435 immobilised Candida Antartica Lipase) Molybdenum or Tungsten Catalysts, H 2 O 2 Highly active, selective and stable epoxidation catalyst systems required

21 National Non-Food Crops Centre Present UK Situation One UK processor & main contractor (Hemcore) Current agricultural production meets processing capacity (circa 2500 Ha per annum) Most fibre product goes into German automotive industry Increasing interest in hemp growing Market demand still growing Considerable R&D expertise and interest

22 National Non-Food Crops Centre The Future UK Situation? Possibility of processing starting up in N. Ireland Improved retting / de-cortication provides high-value fibre Continued interest in growing and processing Possibility of wheat straw being utilised Construction Industry coming onboard Particle boards, insulation materials, etc Prototype bio-composites scaled-up Resins and plasticisers developed


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