Production of tannins from local white pine bark by-products 

27 January 2023

The Forestry Science and Technology Center of Catalonia (CTFC) participates in the project TANFORLOC, led by Leather Química (a company dedicated to the production, marketing and supply of high-quality chemical products for the tanning industry) in collaboration with Inèdit (an eco-strategic innovation study, specialized in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and eco-design), and Combalia (a company focused on vegetable tanning, dedicated to the production of high-quality natural leathers). 

The main objective of this research and development (R&D) project is to obtain tannins and other aromatic compounds from white pine bark from Catalan forests to be used in leather tanning. This will allow to use local resources to replace the current source of tannins from mimosa and quebracho of non-local origin (South America and South Africa) in leather tanning. 

To achieve this goal, the CTFC team, led by Neus Puy and within the framework of the Mediterranean Wood Chemistry Lab, will develop different tannin extraction methods that use fewer resources than current extraction systems. Subsequently, the properties of the compounds obtained on a small scale will be evaluated and compared with commercial tannins. Once the team assesses the best methodology for obtaining these products and tests them in the leather tanning process, a scale-up test of the process will be carried out in a pre-industrial size reactor to evaluate its viability. Finally, the team will evaluate the mitigation of the impact of climate change from the substitution of non-local raw materials for those proposed by this project (local bark and new tannin extraction methods). 

This project aims to contribute not only to the mitigation of climate change, but also to encourage the use of local raw materials, such as white pine bark, to obtain bioproducts within the framework of the circular bioeconomy. 

This project is part of the 2022 call for the Nuclis d’R+D program in climate change of the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACCIÓ) of the Generalitat de Catalunya. 

Last modified: 21 June 2023