“Use of the SperoSet technology enables zero-waste manufacturing of CFRCs and end-of-life recycling of the expensive carbon fibre component from CFRCs, reducing costs and allowing market growth.”
US green chemistry company Spero Renewables is pushing ahead with developing its SperoSet technology – a technology that produces lignin-based thermoset polymers that are renewable and recyclable.
Thermoset plastics contain polymers that cross-link together during the curing process to form an irreversible chemical bond.
“The thermoset plastic market is about $25 billion. The thermoset plastic market is currently dominated by bisphenol A (BPA) based thermosets which are petroleum derived, non-recyclable, and have a number of health and environmental concerns associated with them,” Chief Technology Officer Ian Klein told Bio Market Insights.
Spero will first target its SperoSet technology for the manufacture of carbon fibre reinforced composite (CFRC) market. This market is around $7 billion, Klein said.
He added: “These high-tech composites have applications in the automotive and sporting goods industries where they are used for their high strength and low weight properties.
“However, growth of the CFRC market is being held back by excessive manufacturing waste and the inability to effectively recycle expensive carbon fibre from CFRCs. Use of the SperoSet technology enables zero-waste manufacturing of CFRCs and end-of-life recycling of the expensive carbon fibre component from CFRCs, reducing costs and allowing market growth.”
Sustainability is a hot topic at the moment, with over half of consumers willing to change their daily habits in order to have a more positive effect on the environment. This is leading companies and brands to produce renewable substitutes to petrochemicals used in plastics and other products.
The initial discovery behind SperoSet technology was made at UC Santa Barbara (USCB), and published in Macromolecules in 2018.
Spero has secured a licensing option to the technology from UCSB and is further developing the technology into a commercial process. Earlier this year, Spero received a boost when it recently announced a $2 million cooperative agreement with the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy of the Department of Energy to advance its SperoSet technology.