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Sugar derivative instead of melamine: novel process saves energy and resources

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As a coating material for boards of wood materials, papers impregnated with urea / melamine resin are used. 40,000 tonnes of resins and additives are formulated annually in impress decor Austria GmbH. The starting product of melamine is natural gas, which is synthesized as urea in a first step and melamine in a second step. The synthesis of melamine itself proceeds at high pressure, which is a very energy-intensive process.

Impress decor Austria GmbH has now decided to replace the melamine partially with a sugar derivative. In order to implement this project technically, a novel process was used in which the sugar derivative is condensed into the resin mixture.

The sugar derivative is obtained from corn or wheat starch by catalytic hydrogenation.

In addition to the material use of renewable raw materials, the partial replacement of melamine in the double-digit percentage range (equivalent to several hundred tons per year) also saves energy, which has a favorable effect on the CO2 balance of the product. For the implementation of this measure, the installation of a fuel station for the melamine substitute and the corresponding transport lines was necessary.

The implementation of this project will save some 234 tonnes of CO2 per year.

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