Zelfo is a cellulose fibre based matrix system that is made up from predetermined amounts of macro, micro and nano cellulose fibres with or without associated lignin. Initially the fibre mixture mechanically interlocks and then self-bonds via the mechanism known as hydrogen bonding. No further additives are required to promote bonding and, for example, a resulting biocomposite as a more sustainable alternative to one using a synthetic binding system.
Zelfo can be made using most ligno-cellulosic materials including wood flax, jute, hemp, sugar cane, sisal, straw, recycled textiles, waste paper, brewery draff, and other cellulose-bearing waste streams.
Zelfo Biocomposite Properties Comparison Table:-
|Zelfo Whole Hemp Plant||0,5||1500||7||17||1800||2||1|
|Zelfo Hemp Cellulose||1,5||6550||55||95||9400||14a)||6a)|
|PF-HM)||1,4||-||25||> 70||7000||> 6||>1,5|
|a) Un-ground Specimens b) Yield strength c) No Fracture|
The processing systems used to create the defibrillated cellulose fibre are purely mechanical and use varying levels of energy and water (or selected aqueous medium), depending on the technology employed. Production systems have been developed to minimize energy and resources (water/fibre) to maximum effect. Shrinkage of the material while drying is a concern, especially during the formation of bio-composites and controlling this is a key part to industrializing the system.
The properties of the system can either be used to form a bio-based composite as an alternative to materials such as plastics, metals, fiberglass, and other chemically processed materials, or as an additive to plastics, natural binding agents, pulp, paper and board. Products already made include Snowboards (Nichesnowboards http://nichesnowboards.com/products/story/) Guitars (Mada2 by AWS Design, http://www.madaguitars.com).
Zelfo was developed and patented by Zellform GesmbH (Austria) in the 1990s. All assets of the company were bought in 2004 and promoted further by the firm Omodo GmbH and their licensees. Key areas of research since 2006 have concentrated on optimizing the properties of bio-composites with various densities and expanding the use of Zelfo as a bio-additive. With a view to accelerating the industry take up of the fibre system an IP technology transfer to BASF SE, Germany took place (http://www.basf.com/group/pressrelease/P-13-111).
Research, leading up to pilot-scale production trials, has been carried out by: Agromat (France), University of Leoben (Austria), Wolfson Centre/Brunel University London (United Kingdom), Queen Mary University London. (United Kingdom)
Zelfo IP owners & Commercial Developers past and present:-
Zellform GesmbH (1991–2004)
Omodo GmbH & Licensees/development partners (2004–2011)
Zelfo Technology GmbH. Germany, France, UK. & Licensees/development partners (2011 – present)