19, Jan 2021 -

Corvallis company striving to introduce first formaldehyde-free, bio-based adhesive

Corvallis company striving to introduce first formaldehyde-free, bio-based adhesive


A Corvallis startup is making strides to be the first to introduce a formaldehyde-free adhesive used to manufacture particleboard and medium density fiberboard.

If successful, the innovation would be a breakthrough in the burgeoning green building materials industry and likely in high demand since California implemented the world’s strictest regulation of formaldehyde emissions in 2012.

The Corvallis company, EcoPro Polymers, is developing a plant-based adhesive that contains no urea-formaldehyde, a chemical that releases formaldehyde — known to cause cancer in humans. The company has received support from Oregon State University and Oregon BEST, a nonprofit organization focused on clean technology innovation.

Oregon BEST is investing $124,000 of early stage funding to speed commercialization of the adhesive through collaboration of EcoPro Polymers and OSU researchers, according to Oregon BEST.

“For 60 years, formaldehyde off-gassing has been an issue with urea-formaldehyde, the most common adhesive used in a particleboard and fiberboard,” said Fred Kamke, OSU professor of wood science and engineering and director of the Green Building Materials Lab, an Oregon BEST Lab on the OSU campus. “Although emissions have been reduced dramatically over the years, formaldehyde is still being emitted and some markets are demanding formaldehyde-free solutions.”

Humayun Mandal, who has a doctorate in polymer chemistry, left a career in the adhesive and sealant industry to found EcoPro Polymers in 2014. The company is competing this week for a $200,000 prize at the Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Francisco.

EcoPro Polymers’ adhesive is showing promise in lab trials and has attracted interest from SpekPly LLC, another startup supported by Oregon BEST that makes architectural panels from agricultural byproducts.

SpekPly happened to be using the Green Building Materials Lab when its founder, Dirk Wallace, met Mandal and learned about the new adhesive.

“It was serendipitous that our research in the Oregon BEST lab at OSU resulted in a connection with EcoPro Polymers,” Wallace said. “The new adhesive is allowing us to move forward with a formaldehyde-free product that utilizes agricultural waste and is nontoxic.”

To support clean technology innovations in the state, Oregon BEST brings together expertise from more than 250 Oregon BEST member faculty and research from nine Oregon BEST labs at four Oregon universities (Oregon State University, Oregon Tech, Portland State University, and University of Oregon.)

Source: The Register-Guard

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