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Laurel BioComposite has opened a new pilot plant this month and shipped Bio-Res pellets from its first production run to a major customer for trials.
According to Laurel, they will test the odourless bio-material to develop enhanced adhesive applications for home products. These trial results will contribute to the database established by customer-tested Bio-Res-based injection moulded parts which show a 10 percent increase in stiffness and tensile modulus.
Laurel explains that these improved performance properties are due in part to the material’s ability to lower specific gravity when compared to conventional fillers like calcium carbonate and talc. They say that Bio-Res cost-effectively raises the renewable or “green” content of plastic products by as much as 40 percent. The product provides a direct replacement for traditional petroleum-based resins in a variety of manufacturing processes for plastics.
Made from corn-based distillers grain, a non-edible by-product of ethanol plants, Bio-Res is produced using a two-tank batch system. Distillers’ grain is fed to the tanks which sequentially feed a single positive displacement pump that discharges to a decanter. Once the material completes the drying process it is milled and made ready for shipment to a pelletizing operation. During processing Bio-Res sequesters carbon dioxide and does not use toxic compounds. Laurel says the plant is currently producing 250 pounds of the bio-material an hour. Production could reach 1,000 pounds an hour by the end of the year based on customer demand.
Bio-Res is available in a powder or pellet form and Laurel claims that it mixes easily with polyethylene, polypropylene, polylactic acid and PHA. Bio-Res pellets are made of 60 to 80 percent bio-material. Injection moulders can insert the pellets directly into injection moulded parts to reach desired levels of bio-content. The material can also be blended with various resins. Bio-Res is especially suited for use in a range of industries including shipping, lawn and garden, agriculture and automotive applications.
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