Alberta, Canada -- Researchers at the University of Alberta have created a canola-based polyol for the production of a spray-foam insulation.
Trademarked BioFoam, Delat, British Columbia-based Meadow Polymers has been producing the polyol at pilot scale since 2014, and plans for a large-scale blending facility recently won a grant from Alberta Innovates Biosolutions.
In addition to Meadow Polymers, Edmonton, Canada-based Mod-Panel is planning on manufacturing roof and wall insulation panels using the foam.
The product has biobased content of around 25%, much higher than soy-based foams currently on the market, according to Jonathan Curtis, head of the university’s Lipid Chemistry Group.
The researchers are working on other polyol projects, such as creating a flexible rather than rigid foam that can be used in seat cushions.
The team is also working with other oilseeds, such as camelina to create a product similar to castor oil and flax and hemp to create a bio-based resin.
Curtis said the BioFoam has already been used in roofing panels around Alberta and that there are “established partners across North America” waiting for wider availability.
It is expected to be available for residential use in 2–3 years
Jonathan Curtis, head of the university’s Lipid Chemistry Group, said: “What we’d really like to see is some of that oleochemical industry coming to Canada and being directed towards canola oil,” he said. “There really isn’t a big industry associated with (canola), so we’d like to change that.”