Furfural is behind an environmentally-friendly alternative with similar properties to tropical hardwood.

Kebony’s unique alternative to wood: Kebony, a Norwegian company,  specialises in impregnated pine and maple wood (with furfuryl alcohol), suitable for use in both indoor and outdoor projects. By presenting its product as a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwood, Kebony hopes to expand its consumer base as it forages into the USA. Established in 1997 and launched in the USA in 2010, it is a relatively new addition to the flooring community, but Kebony is taking strides to stand out thanks to its modification process and international expansion (

 It is hoped this new, sustainable material could provide an alternative not only to tropical hardwood, but also to other building materials such as plastic, metal and concrete.

euronews Knowledge

23 October 2014: Kebony invests Euro 8 million for international expansion The demand for Kebony’s wood has steadily increased over recent years and the company has seen average growth of 30% p.a. in the last five years as it has expanded to meet the increasing need for high performance wood whilst protecting tropical forests. Conservation is not just a passing consumer trend, it is now mandated by law – the EU timber legislation came into effect in March 2013, which bans illegal forestry products from entering the market ...  (

Also see:

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Rapid all-weather repair systems for bomb-damaged runways, potholes, etc.

Furfuryl alcohol based polymer systems were successfully used in all-weather conditions during (the Vietnam and other) wars to repair bomb-damaged runways, quickly [1]. The resulting compressive strength and durability is equal to that of the original surface.

 This system has been adopted to South African conditions [2] and the field tests demonstrated that biobased chemicals, in this case sugarcane bagasse derived furfuryl alcohol, compete well (or better) against crude-oil derived epoxy resins. The following features  were reported

The formulatuion selected for use in South Africa polymerised within 20 minutes.

After 20 minutes, a compressive strength of 20 MPa is attained.

 It proved stable under adverse chemical conditions and was able to withstand elevated temperatures of up to 200°C

 Tests on road pothole rehabilitation slabs showed that polymer concrete can resist high stresses successfully under repeated loads.

It can be installed in less than 30 minutes in order to minimise traffic hold-ups and reduces labour hours spent on repairs.

It can be used in wet weather conditions (no work stoppage, due to rain).

image Also suitable for remote roads: Rapid & tough repair solutions for potholes, based on proven systems for bomb-damage runway repairs


[1] See below: Water-Compatible Polymer Concrete Materials For Use In Rapid Repair Systems For Airport Runways, T. Sugama, L.E. Kukacka and W. Horn

[2] See below: Development of Furfuryl Alcohol Concrete For South African Applications, D. Kruger, Rand Afrikaans University


 Rapid Repair System For Airport Runways
 Development of Furfuryl Alcohol Concrete For South African Applications

Editor's note: The above developments go back to the 1970s and 80s. The South African project was not commercialised, mainly due to a lack of resources/industry interest. However, the global focus on using green chemicals as well as the increased labour costs for sending a crew out to remote locations to effect road repairs, provide in our view a new opportunity to re-evaluate the use of biomass derived chemicals for such applications.

New energy-rich sorghum

“.. a new brand of sorghum, bred for optimal energy production, designed as a greener alternative to corn for ethanol fuels and biomass boilers”

DalinYebo‘s insight:

Some of the sweet sorghum varieties are also a great feedstock for furfural production: See “From Africa: An Ideal Feedstock For The Global Biorefineries.”

Source:, via on Scoop.itFurfural and its many By-products...


Flying to the Mars on Corncobs?

Furfural, the pre-cursor to furfuryl alcohol (FA), is made from agricultural residues. The majority of furfural is made from corncobs. See "Corncobs=Rocket-Power!" (Furfural: Science Behind Rockets)

Furfuryl alcohol was one of components used in hypergolic propellants which are fuels that ignite spontaneously. They also ignite in the absence of oxygen (i.e. in space). These mixtures have been (and can be) used as hypergolic starter fluids to ignite liquid rocket fuels in space .. e.g. when flying to the Mars!

Then: Rocket Fuel

The WAC or WAC Corporal was the first sounding rocket developed by the USA [1]. The main engine, hypergolic aniline+furfuryl alcohol. The Wac Corporal became the first U.S. rocket to reach space [2].

Then: Starter Fluid

The Nike Ajax was the first in the US army's family of guided missiles, and the world's first operational, guided, surface-to-air missile system[3]. It used furfuryl alcohol mixture as a hypergolic starter fluid and a 50-50 kerosene:gasoline aviation fuel.


Amateur rocketry groups across the world are experimenting with FA/white fuming nitric acid (WFNA) propulsion engines. E.g.: Copenhagen Suborbitals' Spectra, a concept liquid rocket engine, uses WFNA as the oxidizer to furfuryl alcohol fuel [4]. The clip below gives a great overview and insight on the choices of rocket propellants and in particular how the FA/WFNA system works.

NB: In the above clip there's a reference made to the first moon lander's navigation/propulsion system: Our mentor, Dr. Karl Zeitsch, was a member of the team that develop the fuel for the RD4 thrusters that were used on the Apollo command and the lunar modules!

Download from .


[1] Wikipedia




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Biomass derived Lycra®?

PTMEG (Poly Tetra Methylene Ether Glycol) or polytetrahydrofuran is a polymer, which is used for the manufacture of (1) Spandex fibre (e.g. Lycra® - Invista) and (2) polyurethanes . Although it is currently made from crude-oil derived chemicals, the synthesis of its green equivalent starts with furfural furan  THF PTMEG.

Major PTMEG Uses

1 Spandex is a synthetic fiber (polyurethane-polyurea copolymer) known for its exceptional elasticity. It is strong, but less durable than its major non-synthetic competitor, natural latex [1]. The largest consumers of spandex is China, which has in excess of 500,000 tpa production capacity. For years the annual growth rate has been between 2% and 5.5% and spandex trades in the order of US$900/t - US$1,000/t.

2 Polyurethanes: PTMEG is a polyol in formulations for rigid and flexible polyurethanes, which go into industries, such as automotive, packaging and furniture. They are used e.g. as foams, coatings, adhesives, sealant etc. There is a growing demand for green polyols. Some of them are made e.g. from maize or soya. Global markets [2] for green or bio-polyols are predicted to exceed 1 million tpa by 2018 at an estimated market worth of US$3bn.

Converting furfural into polyurethanes (and other polymers) is an effective form of carbon sequestration!

Commercial furfural production started in 1922 and many of the fundamental research work was already done in the 1940-1950s, when the crude-oil based hydrocarbon revolutions almost "killed" the furfural industry. Little R&D has since been undertaken and that is why furfural is the Sleeping Beauty of all the bio-renewable chemicals, bioplastics and polymers. One day [3], instead from crude-oil, skin-hugging outfits, swimwear, etc. will be made from clean, green and biorenewable furfural.




[3] "Prince" required 

Also see:

Top 30 bio-renewable chemicals.

Green chemical building block.


Since 2001, DalinYebo provides knowhow:

To convert biomass to value added chemical products and applications that are used in industries such as steel, wood, pharmaceutical, automotive, agricultural chemicals, industrial chemicals, etc.

For the agri (biomass) processing, sugar, pulp&paper, etc. industries, we provide knowhow and technology to convert (residual) biomass to chemicals and energy.

For owners of biomass we offer technology and market access, creating investment opportunities in the cleantech space.

The essential technical challenge facing us, and the world in general, is the complete beneficiation of cellulosic material. We strive to provide viable and practical solution. Contact us to discuss the economic potential of your biomass.
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