DISCOVER2: Development of innovative, sustainable materials for roofing systems

The DISCOVER2 project aims at the development of a biobased alternative to conventional roofing materials, such as bituminous or synthetic roofing. In this project, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works together with roofing producer BMI (formerly Icopal) and Stora Enso.

Conventional flat roof covering systems such as bitumen or synthetic polymer based membranes are of high quality and have a long service life, however, they are mainly made from petroleum. Since this fossil resource is finite and its extraction, refining and use contributes to climate change, there are ample reasons to consider alternative roofing materials while retaining the required technical and functional characteristics.

Biobased roofing

The ultimate goal of the project is the development of an environmentally friendly alternative to the existing bituminous roofing systems, in which the fossil bitumen has been replaced by biobased raw materials. A technical obstacle here is that biomass streams are less water resistant and more reactive than bitumen.

The research will mainly focus on achieving sufficient hydrophobicity in combination with good miscibility between the different components in the roofing membrane. To this end, formulation and conversion technologies are used, as well as current production and application methods for making traditional bituminous roofing systems.

This project is a collaboration between Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, roofing producer BMI (formerly Icopal) and biomaterials producer Stora Enso.