Biomass-Based Carbon Foams

Agriculture Technologies for Licensing

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The Technology

Researchers at The University of Tennessee have discovered a method to manufacture carbon foams from biomass.  The inventors are experienced in biomass-based product fabrication and have demonstrated their precursor as a more robust, chemically active carbon foam production source than the currently used precursor materials—e.g.  mesophase pitch and oil-based polymer resins. Additionally, the precursors are very inexpensive and are generated as co-products during biofuels production, making them low-cost sources of high quality materials.

The process for biomass-based carbon foam production has increased gas evolution rates and cellular structure formation, elevated polymerization rates, and improved speed to render the foams infusible during manufacture. The outcome is an overall increased production rate.  Significant decreases in precursor costs and manufacturing times could enable these highly thermally insulating carbon foams to be applied to bulk commodity applications, such as for rigid cellular foam insulation. Furthermore, the foams have intrinsic properties that allow for other applications. For example, the product can be treated or manufactured in such a way that imparts exceptional thermal and/or electrical conductivity; they are also excellent candidates for filtration and energy storage devices.

Benefits

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