From MDF and PB composites wastes to Activated Carbons
Nowadays, government and non-government organisations, and the funding and stimulus programs for research, give
maximum attention to research projects related with the exploitation of renewable resources through the production of valueadded
materials. The projects become more relevant, when the materials obtained have a large range of applications, ranging
from the reduction or elimination of environmental problems, gas purification and storage and a more efficient use of energy,
through to applications in the field of health. In this way, there is a decisive and strong contribution to the prevention and
resolution of the problems underlying the unwanted environmental and climate changes, which in turn are reflected negatively
at a social and economic level.
In this project we will explore the use of huge amounts of wastes generated in the two main classes of wood composites, PBParticleBoard
(agglomerate of particles) and Medium-Density FibreBoard MDF (Agglomerate of Medium Density Fibers), in the
production of AC -Activated C arbons. The construction, furniture and flooring industries, among others, require enormous and
growing amounts of wood composites, leading to an increment in the same line of the amounts of wastes generated.
A strong added value of this project results from the ability to reuse and enhanced PB and MDF wastes, whose composition
includes synthetic polymers (thermoplastic and thermoset) in a greater or lesser extent and consequently in quantity and
toxicity which is not negligible.
In the production process of activated carbons, the use of engineering wood composites as precursors is a topic rarely
addressed in recent years. In this context, there is a window of opportunity unexploited, related with the work of those
precursor wastes, in terms of shape, size and nature, with reflection on the quality of AC . Taking into account the type of wood,
glues, resins and paints, used in the production of these wood agglomerates, comes a diversity of precursors that allows the
production of a wide range of AC , in terms of structural and chemical properties. Additionally, besides the production of AC in
powder and granular forms, some monolithic structures will be produced, increasing the range of potential applications. The
consolidated processes of physical and chemical activation will be explored and the structural level and chemical effects on the
properties of the AC will be analysed.
The amount of information and experimental data produced during this exploratory project will allow, in a second stage,
estimation of parameters such as the intrinsic permeability, which can be related both to the effectiveness of the activation
process of wood composites, as with the performance of the AC in the adsorption process at gas and liquid phase, both in static
and dynamic modes.
The use of waste materials, which are cheap and very abundant, and with better or similar characteristics to commercial
adsorbents already available, can be a good opportunity not only for the manufacturers of the engineered wood products, but
also to the final consumers in terms of potential applications, in conjugation with an improvement of the environment by
reducing contaminant levels.
Objectives, activities and expected/achieved results
- The reuse and valorization of engineering wood composite wastes, namely the most produced and representative, Particle
Board-PB and Medium Density FiberBoard-MDF;
- Contribution to the reduction of environmental pollution and therefore to the climate change, and so to the improvement of
quality of life;
- Based in well know methods of activation, the production of high added value products (AC adsorbents) for a large spectrum
of applications (environmental, energy, health, among others).