Xiaohua Kong1, Ereddad Kharraz1, Jonathan M. Curtis1, Mike Kennedy2 and David Kennedy2.
1Lipid Chemistry Group, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
2Green Analytics, 62 Issard Close, Red Deer, Alberta, Canada.
There is a significant opportunity for the use of high efficiency (higher thermal resistance, R-value) building insulation to reduce space heating energy demand in the world. Within this context, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is an attractive alternative to the more conventional fiberglass batt insulation. This is because SPF offers higher R value per unit thickness than any other thermal insulation product. Currently majority of SPF products on the market today are almost entirely derived from fossil fuel, making the initial insulation investment questionable in terms of environmental impact. It is therefore necessary to search for alternative biobased chemicals and low global warming potential blowing agents that can be used in SPF formulation. The University of Alberta Lipid Chemistry Group conducts applied research to convert the unsaturated lipids and derivatives into a range of biopolyols via cost effective synthetic routes. The biopolyols technology has recently been scaled up by Consolidated Coatings (Delta, BC) and their subsidiary company Meadows Polymer. One type of biopolyols is produced from canola oil derivatives and diol, which has low viscosity, low molecular weight, high hydroxyl number and additional primary functional groups. Due to these features, this biopolyols has been successfully used to replace their petroleum based counterparts in SPF formulations. The biobased SPF product shows comparable processing properties in terms of cream time, rising time, viscosity to meet the operating requirements. In addition, closed-cell content, density, mechanical property, water absorption, water vapor transmittance and aging property of the biobased SPF are all matching the petrochemical equivalent whilst maintaining a high biobased content of 25 wt%.