A bio-structured revolution!

The development of biobased materials is nowadays one of the main world challenge, on agreement with last social evolutions and the new trends towards green materials.

To face the peak-oil and the limitation to easily find some fractions of fossil resources, companies need to sustain their supplies in raw chemical materials. Then, the biomass (from plants) starts to be a viable and competitive answer as a supply source.
The development of environmentally friendly and green polymers-based materials is also a unique opportunity for the chemical industry to develop new (macro)-molecular architectures, including aromatic structures, which is now a top priority for the current global world research on biobased materials.
In a sustainable and fruitful cooperation between the research team of Prof. Avérous at ICPEES (CNRS/University de Strasbourg, France) and the company Soprema (France), a world-wide leading manufacturer in the commercial roofing and waterproofing industry, new and sustainable polymers have been developed. Recently, original and aromatic polymers were obtained by the unique combination of two different sources of biomass, which are largely available: (i) Lignin, an aromatic low valued by-product from trees, and (ii) fatty acids and are obtained by hydrolysis and fractionation of non-food vegetable oils. Controlled aromatic/aliphatic macro-polyols structures have been performed by chemical reactions to elaborate innovative biobased polyurethanes. These new bio-structured polymers, formed with building blocks from biomass, will replace materials derived from fossil resources with improved properties and excellent resistance over time, with strong durability for long term applications.

This innovation is based on a French project “ISI-BPI/France” multi-stakeholder of 20 million Euros, which started in 2010, called "Mutatio" and another project funded by the Alsace region (Eco-membrane).
This project will enable the next industrialization of these aromatic polymers to develop biobased waterproofing membranes by the company Soprema for insulation of roofs ... replacing structures based on bitumen. These polymers will also could find applications in other areas, such as the transportation and automotive.

  • Reference: Laurichesse S., Huillet C., Avérous L. (2014) “Original polyols based on organosolv lignin and fatty acids: new bio-based building blocks for segmented polyurethanes synthesis” Green Chemistry. Vol. 16, N°8, pp. 3958-3970.


BioTeam/ECPM-ICPEES, UMR CNRS 7515, Université de Strasbourg, 25 rue Becquerel, 67087 Strasbourg Cedex 2, France