Corvallis Startup to Produce Enviro-Friendly MDF, Particleboard
Building Products – November 2015
(Nov. 24, 2015) A Corvallis, Or., startup wants to be the first to introduce a formaldehyde-free adhesive used to manufacture medium density fiberboard and particleboard.
The innovation would be a breakthrough in the burgeoning green building materials industry, and if successful, will be likely in high demand since California implemented the world’s strictest regulation of formaldehyde emissions in 2012.
The Corvallis company, EcoPro Polymers, is working to develop a plant-based adhesive that contains no urea-formaldehyde, a chemical known to cause cancer in humans. The company has received support from Oregon State University and a nonprofit organization Oregon BEST, which is investing $124,000 of early stage funding to speed commercialization of the adhesive through collaboration of EcoPro Polymers and OSU researchers.
EcoPro Polymers’ adhesive is showing promise in lab trials and has attracted interest from SpekPly LLC, a startup that makes architectural panels from agricultural byproducts.
This Corvallis startup found an alternative to cancer-causing formaldehyde in particleboard
A Corvallis startup is working on what could be the first non-toxic adhesive for particleboard and similar advanced wood products.
Oregon BEST has invested $124,000 of early-stage funding to speed commercialization of the adhesive by EcoPro Polymers, which is collaborating with Oregon State University researchers on the product.
According to information from Oregon BEST, a partially state-backed business accelerator, the new adhesive “solves the decades-old formaldehyde off-gassing issue from furniture, cabinets and other products made from particleboard and medium density fiberboard (MDF). More than 60 percent of MDF and particleboard is currently made with adhesives that contain urea-formaldehyde, known to hydrolyze and release formaldehyde into the atmosphere over time.”
The product is being lab-tested at OSU to help refine the equation to make it work financially, according to the statement.
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.)
Article in Timber and Forestry November 20, 2015
Allumia, EcoPro Polymers and Tape-It-Easy Honored at Cleantech Open PNW Competition
(Monday, October 26, 2015)
Twelve Pacific Northwest Startups Graduate the Cleantech Open Accelerator in 2015
The Cleantech Open named Allumia and EcoPro Polymers as 2015 Pacific Northwest Finalists while Tape-It-Easy received the region’s Sustainability Award. Each company will go on to compete for a prize package worth $200,000 in cash and services at the Cleantech Open Global Forum in San Francisco from November 17-19.
Now in its 10th year, the Cleantech Open is the oldest and largest cleantech startup accelerator program in the U.S., supporting some 150 early-stage startups every year. Twelve Pacific Northwest cleantech companies graduated from the Cleantech Open accelerate program in 2015.
- Allumia provides energy efficient lighting as a service. The company funds, installs, and maintains efficient lighting upgrades for commercial and industrial customers, earning a return out of metered savings.
- EcoPro Polymers created a water based, zero formaldehyde emission adhesive resin that is healthier and more environmentally sustainable for modern building applications. The EPA is clamping down on formaldehyde emissions from interior building materials.
- Tape-It-Easy promotes water-efficient drip irrigation systems for global water conservation. The company created a tool to expedite the drip irrigation installation process without the excessive labor and time associated with installation by hand.
Read more at : CleanTech ALliance.
Formaldehyde is the bane and backbone of the building trades. The toxic chemical, used in the production of bonding and adhesives, is present inmany wood products. Aiming to render the toxin obsolete, Keizer-based EcoPro has developed a plant-based alternative appropriate for flooring, molding, cabinets, furniture and other building components.
“This is going to have a huge impact on interior air quality in residential and nonresidential buildings,” says Humayun Mandal, EcoPro’s founder.
Mandal, who has a background in chemistry and 20 years of experience developing adhesives for construction businesses, says he was inspired by “the vast potential to engineer plant-based materials to make useful, environmentally benign commercial products.”
The health benefits were another motivator. Not that disrupting the adhesive market is easy. Mandal cites challenges educating customers about the benefits of a formaldehyde-free product.
But EcoPro, jump started by a $124,000 grant from Oregon BEST, has already signed on two large clients in the Pacific Northwest.