BFH researchers develop sustainable binder for engineered wood products

03.03.2023 In an Innosuisse project, researchers from the Institute of Materials and Wood Technology IWH at the Bern University of Applied Sciences BFH are developing a new mineral binder for the production of engineered wood products (EWP). The goal is to make EWP more sustainable.

The sustainability of engineered wood products such as plywood or fibreboard is largely determined by the binder used. Formaldehyde-based binders, as they are mainly used today, are responsible for the majority of the CO2 emissions of engineered wood products. Moreover, their formaldehyde emissions are often considered problematic. Research into the development of mineral binders has therefore been going on for several years, including at BFH. Compared to a formaldehyde adhesive, these mineral binders have almost 80 percent lower CO2 emissions. A new mineral binder to produce engineered wood products is being developed by researchers at the BFH's Institute of Materials and Wood Technology IWH in a recently launched Innosuisse project. In the project, the researchers are working with Omya International AG, a Swiss company that is a leading global supplier of calcium carbonate minerals.

poloply prozess Enlarge image

Less than 20 percent binder

The development by BFH and Omya International AG is initially intended for the production of mineral-bonded plywood. The finished boards should contain less than 20 percent binder and have the mechanical properties of conventionally produced plywood for interior application. The binder is to be able to be cured with heat, which will enable a fast manufacturing process and thus make the product more competitive.

Find out more