Green Adhesives: Options for the Australian industry – summary of recent research into green adhesives from renewable materials and identification of those that are closest to commercial uptake
Green adhesives are those that contain a significant amount of a renewable or a natural resource. Over the past decade researchers have been looking for alternatives to the formaldehyde-based adhesives used in the wood panel industry. Formaldehyde is a known carcinogen derived from petrochemicals, so there are health and environmental reasons to search for green adhesives.
The green adhesives that are closest to commercial uptake are the Dynea AsWood technology (protein based) and the Ashland/Hercules Soyad system (soy protein based). Generally these are more expensive than existing adhesives but they have a niche market where there are controls on formaldehyde emissions.
It is recommended that the Australian wood panels industry monitor the development of these technologies as they are still being introduced on an industrial scale. It is likely that the Australian and New Zealand marketplace will follow North America in changing from existing adhesives to green adhesives within the next five to ten years.