Hexion Inc. has announced that it will be expanding its technology centre in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. The expanded research and development (R&D) development facility will focus on developing the next generation of resin chemistry for panel production that will complement Hexion’s extant EcoBind™ lower emitting resin technology and build on the inherent flame, smoke, and toxicity (FST) properties of the current resin systems.
The expanded laboratory will have a focus on emerging phenolic resin technology that is capable of substituting phenol with bio-based raw materials, such as lignin, an abundant and natural polymer that has endless potential as an adhesive substitute in wood panel production.
The expansion of the laboratory in Edmonton is set to be complete by the third quarter of 2017. On top of investing in cutting-edge analytical equipment, Hexion has also invested in new panelboard press technology to test the bio-based resins in an actually production environment due to the difficulty in working with natural feedstocks. The “pilot plant” is meant to mimic commercial production in a typical Alberta factory and show that the new resins and press, working in concert with each other, can deliver the same – or better panel properties – as traditional materials can. The new laboratory also leverages on Alberta Innovates’ (AI) investment in lignin production, a programme drawn up to help diversify the local economy in Alberta by accelerating growth in the bio-industrial sector.
“Hexion is committed to innovation that improves the sustainability of engineered panel products,” Mark Alness, Senior Vice President, Americas Forest Products, said. “The substitution of lignin and other bio-based raw materials for phenol will result in greater use of these renewable raw materials in the coming decade. This investment is in line with Hexion’s ongoing commitment to develop low emitting EcoBind technology products.”