Lignin-derived Carbon Storing Foams for High Performance Insulation
The University of Tennessee-Knoxville (UTK) will develop higher performance, carbon-negative, and eco-friendly lignin polyurethane (PU) foams as a building insulation material via non-isocyanate synthesis. Non-isocyanate PU via polyaddition of cyclic carbonates and amines is non-toxic and non-moisture sensitive. Lignin is inherently hydrophobic, antibacterial, and fire-resistant, which are essential properties of insulation materials. Lignin’s propensity to char instead of ignite is advantageous but insufficient to address modern anti-flammability requirements. UTK will apply anti-flammability agents to meet this requirement. The team will demonstrate that these new bio-derived PU foams can be readily converted to biochar via thermal decomposition at end-of-life for long-term soil carbon capture and improved soil productivity.
HESTIA projects will facilitate the use of carbon storing materials in building construction to achieve net carbon negativity by optimizing material chemistries and matrices, manufacturing, and whole-building designs in a cost-effective manner.