Who We Are
Natural Foams Technology (NFTech) is a UK development company with over 30 years' experience in green polyurethane foam technology. The company specialises in green chemistry formulas that provide natural, renewable foams for the soft furnishing, bedding, and automotive industries. These foams can be made from any plant-derived oils, but most to date have been developed using polyols made from certified soy or palm oil.
Our overall technical goal is to support the global upholstery sector’s move towards more renewable/recyclable solutions, and reduce the environmental emissions associated with PU foam production.
With years of R&D expertise, our licenses give manufacturers the very latest advances in renewable PU foam production, as well as performance results that meet or exceed the toughest global emissions and fire-safety standards.
And we truly are green. NFTech’s foam formulas contain the highest percentage of natural oil polyols (NOPS) of any competing technology on the market. We have successfully replaced 82% of the petrochemical-based polyol with certified high-yielding renewable oils. Our renewable foams have been in production in the US since 2009.
So why choose our bio-based foams over petrochemical-based formulations?
- NFTech’s high bio-foams give you inherent natural flammability protection
- The finished foams (processed across standard density grades) are highly durable with exceptional physical and support properties
- They come with none of the traditional odour problems associated with plant-based foams (due to the unique patented green chemistry)
- In controlled burn tests, they produce historically low smoke emissions (up to 80% less than their petrochem counterparts) due to the high bio-based polyol content and low use (or elimination) of traditional chemical additives
- The foams are cost-effective as they are formulated to run on existing foam plant infrastructure
- Both NFTech’s 82% and 55% bio-content formulations have been certified into the USDA’s BioPreferred bio-based products program giving manufacturers preferential Federal purchasing and labeling status in the US
- Companies who license our technology are given a fast, price-competitive route to meeting ambitious sustainability goals, which more of today’s consumers are demanding from their suppliers
- Our bio-based formulas also work with reclaimed polyols (made from recycled foam) to provide a 100% bio-renewable/recycled foam product
Jeff has spent 30 years developing polyol technology for the US and European flexible foam market. He's designed and managed foam production facilities, and is a Fellow of the Institution of Chemical Engineers.
Dr Paul Newton
Paul has over 25 years' experience building and running technology companies. He currently advises a number of companies on their commercial development.
Nick specialises in managing the development of a new product, identifying market opportunity and growth potential from the original idea through to commercial use.
Environmental & Fire Safety
We also use organic, non-bio-accumulative, non-hazardous alternative chemicals in all our formulations and, through novel green chemistry, have eliminated a number of chemicals used in synthetic foam manufacture. These include:
- Stannous Octoate (the source of 2-EHA)
- Emissive Amine Catalysts
- Emissive Flame Retardants
- Emissive Antioxidants
- Melamine (in TB CAL 117 formulas)
In our fire-treated formulas, we have chosen the EPA-recommended alternative flame retardant Exolit OP 560, made by Swiss specialty chemicals company Clariant.
We based this decision on OP-560’s excellent environmental performance record and how efficiently it bonds with the chemistry of the natural oil polyols. Because of the highly reactive nature of the green chemistry, manufacturers can use 80% less of the flame retardant they’d normally use in standard synthetic foam to pass an open flame test (which is still the UK and European benchmark). From an environmental health standpoint, the FR does not migrate out because it has bonded to the natural polyol at a molecular level.
Our ‘reacted’ process fully replaces the traditional method of ‘adding’ FR to the foam at much larger volumes to provide fire protection. The latter traditional process leaves the chemicals far more vulnerable to migrating out of the foam during general wear and tear, and has been shown to cause adverse effects on human health and the environment.
For licensees using our combustion-treated formulas, the finished foams have been analyzed as part of an ongoing public submissions project at Duke University, a leading environmental health research facility in the US. The results confirmed that the OP560 flame retardant had fully bonded in to the substrate of the foam.