Page 23

been surprisingly positive.”

also replace 100 percent

“We were hoping to get maybe

of formaldehyde with

60 percent of phenol with lignin,”

a

says Nejad. She was at a conference

raw material, but we

when her PhD student (Isal Kalami)

now have a formulation

called and was excited to report, after

that has very similar

continuing to increase the mixture,

performance

“the adhesive developed by replacing

petrochemical-based

100 percent of phenol with lignin, had

adhesive.

excellent water resistance and did not

perfect

dissolve in water after 24 hours of a

are now happy to see

bio-based,

that

We believe in this collaboration with Michigan State. And finding a use for a biochemical as an alternative compound to a petrochemical completely aligns with the mission and vision of POET.

nontoxic

to

We

the

got

result, some

a

and

adhesive

producers are seriously looking

at

replacing

phenol with lignin.” For POET Bioproducts Research Director Steve Bly, the lignin research shows

promise,

but

more important is the long-term,

big-picture

relationships by

these

created university

collaborations. “The

best

part

of

these collaborations is that they benefit both POET and the university

is in nature,” she says. “We believe

researchers,” says Bly, now in his

in this collaboration with Mojgan.

tenth year at POET. “We’re involved in

We believe in this collaboration with

a number of these collaborations, and

Michigan State. And finding a use

the university professors extend our

for a biochemical as an alternative

reach from a research perspective.

compound

water immersion test.”

Mojgan is a well-respected expert in

completely aligns with the mission

Nejad and her team then began

lignin utilization and her knowledge

and vision of POET.”

to work on optimizing the resin and

in this area helps to accelerate our

And for Mojgan Nejad, that big-

adhesive formulations, and received

research

picture

efforts.

We

give

them

to

plan

a

of

petrochemical

replacing

toxic

even more promising results. With

feedback, and show them real-world

ingredients with safe alternatives is a

the new mixture, the amount of

applications

lifelong passion.

formaldehyde

very

standpoint. Even hundreds of miles

“We can really do this,” she says.

toxic, and its emission is always a

apart, we’re working together for the

“We can change an entire industry

concern with woods products — was

same goal: replacing toxic petroleum-

for the better. We can make the whole

decreased by 50 percent.

based compounds with something

world safer. Everything that is made

Various tests proved the wet and dry

that’s safe and grows naturally.”

of petrochemicals we could someday

adhesion performance of developed

Margaret Slupska, Lignocellulosic

replace with plant-based materials.

lignin-based glue were similar to

Research Director at POET, agrees.

Think what a difference that would

phenol-based glue.

“Lignin

make.”

“This

was

very

which

is

exciting,”

is

from

a

a

really

commercial

fascinating

says

compound when you think about how

Nejad. “We need more research to

it is structured and how abundant it

THE ESSENTIAL PERSPECTIVE

21

Profile for Vital Magazine

Vital Magazine - Spring 2019  

Vital Magazine - Spring 2019