KAAPA’s Most Recent Project
LignoTech Developments, Ltd., a New Zealand limited liability company, has developed a highly engineered bio-filler for the plastics industry which will be marketed under the name “Xylemer”. A building for the headquarters and initial production facility (IPF) has been secured in Kearney, Nebraska. It will be equipped and operated to produce, sell and market Xylemer as well as other engineered bio-fillers. The first bio-feedstock for the production will be Dried Distillers Grains (DDG), the co-product of ethanol production. After operations of the IPF have commenced, growth of the company is expected to result from securing strategic partners and licensing this unique and patented technology. The initial target market for Xylemer will be within thermoset applications, such as sheet molded parts for the automotive and truck industries. When replacing calcium carbonate, a traditional filler, Xylemer enhances the end plastic product by making it stronger and lighter weight. Independent research and trials has indicated that biomass (ligno-cellulosic material) has not always been ideal for use in plastics because 1) it absorbs too much moisture, 2) has a high resin demand, and 3) is not found to be sustainable. Xylemer, through the highly engineered process, has been developed to have acceptable hydrophobicity (moisture take-up), require less resin demand, and comes from a very sustainable, reliable and readily-available feedstock.
LignoTech Developments Limited (LDL) was formed in 2000 for the purpose of advancing economic benefits within the plastics industry through the commercial production of sustainable and economical bio-based fillers suitable for durable goods. Under the product name, Xylemer, this bio-based filler seeks to displace certain common fillers and a portion of traditional plastics within a wide spectrum of consumer products. Xylemer is considered a “highly engineered” and “functional” bio-based resin filler in that its inclusion can actually enhance the characteristics of the end product (e.g. lighter weight, and in some formulations, stronger). The origin of the company goes back to the early 1990’s when a steam engineer and inventor, Andrew Rafferty, teamed up with a research scientist and set about proving his vision and belief that it was possible to use high pressure steam to modify biomass. Soon afterwards, with the need for capital , a group of investors came on board to advance the project and they have continued to provide capital as the company has made progress. With the recent addition of capital from KAAPA and other investors, commercialization of the product is just around the corner.
The LDL technology was developed solely by LDL and is patented (#7,303,707). It converts ligno-cellulosic material using a high pressure steam thermal modification/hydrolyzing process. The resulting bio-based material, along with possible inclusions of binders and amendments, replaces a portion of the the traditionally used fillers, along with other applications being explored.