Development and pilot production of sustainable bio-binder systems for wood-based panels: LCA of proposed feedstock

The SUSBIND consortium develops, produces and tests bio-based adhesive systems as an alternative to adhesive systems based on a formaldehyde resin as currently used for wood-based panel boards in furniture mass production. SUSBIND aims at producing these bio-based adhesive systems with leading wood board manufacturers for two product types: P2 particleboard (PB) and medium density fibreboard (MDF). The resulting bio-based adhesive system aims to outperform current conventional adhesive systems by means of a significantly lower carbon footprint, while also reducing emissions toxic to humans. As a second step in the guidance on environmental aspects in the SUSBIND research we have carried out an analysis of the environmental impact of the carbohydrate/oil feedstock options. For carbohydrate feedstocks, production from wheat and maize grain is studied. For oil feedstocks, production from linseed, rapeseed, soybean and sunflower is considered.

Based on the analyses conducted, the following general recommendations are derived:

  • Types of adhesives: We recommend exploring the adhesives (largely) based on carbohydrates further. It seems likely that these adhesives can achieve a carbon footprint reduction in comparison to the current petrochemical adhesives. We recommend to only explore an adhesive where oil feedstock is used as hydrophobic agent further if an epoxidised oil proves to be a very effective hydrophobic agent. We recommend not to explore development of an adhesive solely based on oil feedstock. The risk of land use change, and associated climate change impact due to increased production of oil feedstock is too high.
  • Carbohydrate feedstock selection: From a carbon footprint perspective it does not matter which type of feedstock is selected (glucose solution, fructose solution or maltodextrin solution). There is, however, a difference in carbon footprint of the two raw materials under consideration (maize and wheat grain), but we recommend to include both in the further development. It is important though to source raw material from the most efficient production locations or to move towards crops grown on marginal lands.
  • Oil feedstock selection: We recommend not to include linseed oil and soybean oil as possible feedstock in the further development due to the high risk of land use change associated with these types of feedstock. We recommend to include both rapeseed oil and sunflower oil as potential types of feedstock in the adhesives recommended for further exploration. The use of oil feedstock should however be minimized as much as possible.”