Process and technologies explainedRaw materials will be collected from annual plants, food industry by-products and urban organic waste to create future, new applications that are recyclable or compostable and therefore environmentally friendly. The collected biomass must be processed in order to be further turned into products. This is where the expertise of acib in the development and improvement of natural enzymes and cell systems comes into play. Most microorganisms cannot use lignocellulose, i.e. the cell walls of wood or plants, as a direct source of carbon, as for example it is required to produce biopolymers. To do this, the researchers use enzymes that they isolate from a soil fungus, a species of tubular mushroom called Trichoderma reesei. These biocatalysts are able to dissolve the simple sugars out of the spruce wood residues – the food or carbon source for the microorganisms. In a multi-step process, we then extract the stored, biodegradable and environmentally friendly biopolymer from the cells of the biomass. Spruce chips are attractive because they are not in competition with other industrial sectors, are available in abundance and are inexpensive.
From packaging material to textileBionanopolys sets its focus on four main technologies: The first two technologies are Cellulose nanofibers and Metallic Nanoparticles. They will be used as reinforcement of paper-based materials and non-woven textiles for personal care such as cleaning wipes, giving them new functionalities. The third technology is about active nanocapsules with antimicrobial activity provided by essential oils that are nanoencapsulated in the material. This reduces odours and gives textiles antimicrobial effect, improves the barrier properties of packaging material and reduces antimicrobial load in food products. Block-Copolymers, the fourth technology, will be used as reinforcement of biobased- and compostable formulations for film packaging and shopping bags, as well as rigid and flexible packaging such as injection moulded cutlery and coffee capsules, thermoformed trays and containers but also 3D-printed, complex shaped parts and foam-and coating applications for the automotive sector.
Network of pilot plants and comprehensive service portfolioTo speed up the introduction of biobased nano-enabled materials into the market, Bionanopolys aims at creating a network of 14 pilot plants and their complementary services. A comprehensive portfolio of services for the development and integration of new bio-based nano-enabled products complements the outputs of the project – also ensuring an efficient production process and that new materials are safe to use. The Bionanopolys Open Innovation Test Bed offers services to implement further safety aspects of bionanomaterials along the entire value chain – Life Cycle-, Social Life Cycle- and End-of-life-Cycle-Assessments, Life Cycle Costing, and ecofriendly analyses will be included to guarantee the recycling, composting or biodegradability of these new manufactured, future products. In addition, innovation management services such as patent mapping, IPR management, funding consultancy or business modelling support technological innovators and users of the OITB on their way to the market. All this speeds up the development process of safe nano-enabled bio-based materials and enables customers a more efficient, safer and environmentally friendly use of new products. More information visit: https://www.bionanopolys.eu
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement No. 953206.