The aim of WOOL4BUILD project has been to develop a sustainable product for buildings insulation based on the wool wastes produced in the tannery industry.
In the normal leather production process, the leathers arrive from slaughterhouses and the first step of the process is cleaning, soaking and degreasing of the skins in order to guarantee optimal conditions and no smell problems in normal usage. In the second step, a shearing machine cuts the hair at the desired height in order to obtain a uniform level of the wool into each piece of leather. At this point of the productive process, the leather and the wool waste are separated. The leather will follow the standard process and the wool waste will be used to develop a new insulating material: WOOL4BUILD.
This GP involves the carding process where the different fibers are mixed to form a homogeneous substrate of two qualities of wool and PET bi-component fibers. The WOOL4BUILD isolation material with 85% of wool fibers and 15 % of bi-component fibers are developed. The mix of fibers enters in consolidation tunnel, the bi-component fibers are fused at 160 ºC and the panel is consolidated in a definite structure and consistency. After the tunnel, the material has a very good aspect, resistance and homogeneity.
Finally, the panels are introduced in a double spraying machine where they are sprayed with two different products dissolved in water: the first one to increase the insect resistance and the second one to increase the fire resistance.
Paying attention to the technology (carding and consolidation of fibres) an estimation of funding for acquisition, set up and run this equipment could be 0,5M – 1,5M €. Raw materials (tannery wastes) should be ensured and, if possible, a short value chain should be promoted.
Evidence of success
The project developed leads to the conclusion that the WOOL4BUILD products present an excellent performance in order to improve the thermal & acoustic insulating, increasing the comfort of the buildings. Besides this, the manufacturing process of the insulating WOOL4BUILD product is very low energy demanding and reduces the global warming potential value.
Potential for learning or transfer
Key success factors for transferring are:
• Some by-products in traditional sectors can be revalorized into new environmental friendly products.
• Intensive collaboration between partners with different profiles is required.
• Pay attention to legislation.
• Specialization of technicians who develop products for new markets/applications. Increasing of knowledge of technicians.
• Funding required for implementation, size of the machinery and auxiliary installation devices is quite high.
• Easy-to-operate technologies.
• Specialization and re-conversion of traditional textile companies that are currently producing nonwovens or isolation products.