Eco-Friendly Building Panel Made From Waste Plastics
Nexboard developer Xeriant develops a fiber-reinforced polymer composite sourced from recycled plastics
Xeriant Inc., of Boca Raton, Fla., filed U.S. patent and trademark applications on Aug. 1, for what it describes as an advanced green building material that incorporates a fiber-reinforced polymer composite made primarily from recycled consumer and industrial plastics. The material, a replacement for drywall, plywood, oriented strand board and other construction panels, is called Nexboard. Xeriant seeks to trademark it under the Durever brand name.
Xeriant is best known as for developing and commercializing aerospace technologies, including next-generation air and spacecraft. But the company also works on developing advanced eco-friendly materials which can be successfully integrated and commercialized for deployment across multiple industry sectors, as with Nexboard.
The development of a building panel that uses a reinforced polymer composite made mostly of recycled plastics (it also includes recycled cardboard) is part of an emerging trend in which specially treated waste plastics are used as additives and fillers in building and construction, as well as infrastructure (for this last, see posts on July 25, 26 and 31). Recycling plastics for such applications could eventually prevent large amounts of waste from ending up in landfills and incinerators or as litter. This would lift the U.S. recycling rate, which is well below 10 percent (some sources put the amount at around 6 percent).
Xeriant is moving toward product commercialization with completion of development milestones. These include meeting product performance standards: Nexboard is fire-resistant (tested by NFPA 286 and ASTM E84), has high durability and strength, resists water, mold and insects, and is fully recyclable.
The company developed—but has not disclosed—an industrial-scale manufacturing process that will allow the product to be made with consistent quality and finish and at a competitive price. TMF Corp., of Havertown, Pa., a manufacturer of plastics containers and pallets, has reportedly proven the efficiency of the process in its own plant. Xeriant is said to be looking for a manufacturing location, possibly in New York state.
Xeriant is also adjusting the composite mix to achieve a more homogeneous fiber distribution, which will reduce board weight and enhance mechanical performance. Sample boards are being sent to leading homebuilders that the company is working with for third-party testing.
This would be an ideal time for Nexboard to gain share in the construction market. The global market for green building materials is forecast to reach $610 billion by 2028, according to a report by consultant Global Market Insights.