The Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT) has developed a technology called CatLignin in order to decrease the carbon footprint and improve the ecology of resin glues significantly. Resin glues are used in many wood products, such as plywood, hardboard, chipboard and laminated wood.
The technology utilises lignin, a component of black liquor, which is used as a source for energy in pulp industry. Due to its structure, Catlignin works well as a replacement of phenol in paraformaldehyde resins. Some six million tons of paraformaldehyde resins are produced annually on the global level.
The carbon footprint of CatLignin is about one fifth of that of phenol. It can also be used to replace some formaldehyde as a raw material. Both phenol and formaldehyde are oil based, toxic and expensive components for glue. Thus their replacement with a safer and bio-based alternative is important for both the manufacturers of glues and wood-based products.
Catlignin has broad prospects to replace fossil based chemicals in rubber, plastic, and glue applications. It can also be used to make products more weatherproof.