Cambond’s bioresins replace toxic chemicals responsible for ‘sick building syndrome’
A reusable coffee cup made from spent coffee grounds is just one of the products created using Cambond’s bioadhesive. The Cambridge-based company is explaining how agricultural waste such as straw, fruit and vegetables could provide a replacement for plastics in the Virtual Innovation Hub.
Cambond’s Head of Business Development Dr Gareth Roberts explains: “We have developed a bioadhesive that can replace the toxic urea-formaldehyde glues that are widely used in the construction industry to make plywood and fibre boards.
“Not only are these glues oil-based and give off noxious vapours during their energy intensive formation, but they continue to release these toxins after construction, contributing to ‘sick building syndrome’.
“Our technology platform can make bioresins that are safe, low carbon and environmentally sustainable.”
Cambond’s resin is made from Dried Distiller’s Grains and Solutes (DDGS), a by-product of whisky distillation or bioethanol production and widely used as an animal feed, so it is a familiar ingredient in agriculture.
The resin can be combined with straws, nutshells, pineapple tops, used coffee grounds, palm oil-wastes and other agricultural by-products to produce biocomposite construction materials such as MDF-type boards.
However, the company is diversifying and a recent Cambond product is the carbon neutral WasBeans reusable coffee cup. It looks and feels like heavy-duty plastic but is made from 30% coffee grounds, 68% bio-resin and bio-degradable polymer, and a splash of recyclable silicone to ensure it is watertight.
Cambond is looking for business partners in the biomass supply chain and for end-users of its materials including manufacturers of packaging and other biocomposite materials.
One application is 100% biomass moulded or formed products like plates, trays and bowls. The bioresin can be used to make an excellent alternative to plastics like melamine or polypropylene and has been shown to meet US FDA and EU requirements for food safety.
Cambond has set up a development facility at the NIAB Innovation Hub in Soham, Newmarket, where it is able to demonstrate these innovative materials to potential customers and partners.