Liquid Wood Could Cut Down On Use Of Plastics

A German company called TECNARO is responsible for manufacturing liquid wood. Liquid wood is an innovative material used to make a bioplastic that ismore eco-friendly than petroleum made plastics, which are non-biodegradable and can contain carcinogens and other toxic substances. The uses for TECNARO’s innovative bioplastic could save money, fossil fuels and other natural resources.

The scientist, Juergen Pfitzer, Helmut Naegele, Norbert Eisenreich, Wilhelm Eckl and Emilia Inone-Kauffmann, at the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology (ICT) in Pfinztal, Germany are behind the invention of liquid wood also known as Arboform. “ARBOFORM® is the ecological, aesthetic and yet sophisticated alternative to your plastics products” (IDES). Although Arbo means tree in Latin, making Arboform does not require the destruction of more trees to be made. Instead a byproduct called Lignin from the pulp industry is used.

Lignin is an important ingredient in wood. It is taken out of paper to make it turn white. There is about is about 50 million tones produced per year. So, this excess amount of lignin can be recycled into Arboform instead of wasted.

How? The scientists from ICT discovered that when Lignin was mixed with natural additive such as wax and natural plant fibers such as flax and hemp it could be made into a strong, non-toxic renewable plastic material. The material can then be melted and injected moulded. The end product looks a lot like the plastic used in many household items today or like highly polished wood.

Toys, furniture, coffins, golf tees, shoes and other products have already been made with Arboform. Arboform can also be used for automotive interior parts, construction
applications, electrical/electronic applications and lawn and garden equipment. The Ford Auto Company in Germany is already experimenting with it.

In addition, Arboform can be artificially colored, but it will not turn white or transparent. It is also more eco-friendly to dispose of, “The disposal of Arboform® products is the same as for naturally grown wood, i.e. by decay or incineration. The quantity of CO2 pollutant emitted in the process is no more than what was previously fixed from the atmosphere by the plants while growing.” It is even highly recyclable