Adhesives and coatings are an integral part of everyday wood-based consumer products. However, most adhesives and coatings currently on the market are produced using fossil-based and harmful chemicals, which conflicts with the EU-level goal of protecting the health and well-being of citizens and the environment.
As a solution, the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking (CBE JU) has funded SuperBark – a research and innovation project that will develop safe and sustainable adhesives and coatings from pine and spruce bark, which are major industrial side streams of the forest industry. SuperBark is coordinated by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, and the project’s interdisciplinary consortium consists of 12 partners from eight countries. SuperBark kicked-off on 1st September 2023 and continued until August 2027.
The project aims to develop, test, and validate adhesives and coatings with ≥ 95% bio-based content that will replace fossil-based solutions used in consumer products in the furniture, construction, transport, and packaging sectors. To accomplish this, SuperBark will use polyphenols extracted from tree bark using a new alkaline fractionation technology, as well as cellulose nanofibrils converted from cellulose-rich bark residues.
“SuperBark aims to eliminate consumer exposure to formaldehyde-based resins and per- and polyfluorinated substances used in coatings. The research will be guided by Safe and Sustainable by Design principles and will apply digital technologies to accelerate the development of adhesives and coatings into products with a long-lasting impact on human health and the environment,” says Marc Borrega, Senior Scientist and Project Manager from VTT.
Throughout SuperBark, the partners will evaluate the safety, sustainability, technical as well as economic performance of the adhesives and coatings to initiate further R&D actions towards commercialization of the developed processes and products, which will reduce the demand for fossil-based, hazardous chemicals and polymers typically used in wood-based products today