This year the prestigious "Bioplastics Oskar" was given to Helmut Lingemann GmbH & Co. KG (Wuppertal, Germany) for their innovative spacer profiles NIROTEC EVO for insulating window glazing.
The Annual Global Bioplastics Award, presented by the trade publication bioplastics MAGAZINE, was awarded for the 8th time now. The award recognises innovation, success and achievements by manufacturers, processors, brand owners or users of bioplastic materials. It was given to Wolfgang Bauer, Head of Quality Management of Helmut Lingemann on December 10th during the 8th European Bioplastics Conference in Berlin. From a list of almost 20 proposals five judges from the academic world, the press and industry associations from America, Europa and Asia have selected five finalists and now announced the winner.
Helmut Lingemann GmbH & Co.KG have been involved for more than 30 years as an innovative market leader in the sector insulation glass spacers.
The new spacer system NIROTEC EVO is applied in windows and facades with a high level of insulation to reduce the energy losses by using double and triple glazing.
The technological requirements are high strength and structural reinforcement (e.g. tensile modulus), low thermal conductivity, no fogging when used in insulating glass, no incompatibility with other components in the insulation of windows and facades. In combination with the target of reducing the use of fossil fuels this can only be achieved by using stainless steel in combination with a biopolymer. Together with a partner, a tailor-made blend of different biopolymers based on PLA, biopolyester and further additives were developed, which met the requirements 100%.
Until now about 2 million metres of NIROTEC EVO have been processed into insulating glass units. The biopolymer ratio is approximately 40 tonnes. If NIROTEC EVO were used for the total annual production of insulating glass units in Europe, about 18,000 tonnes of this bioplastic material could be applied.
The material selection of stainless steel foil and this bioplastic material for the manufacture of such spacers is unique. The applicability and thermal characteristics of the material combination for the spacer NIROTEC EVO represents a milestone in innovation for the insulating glass industry.
“The judges decided for Helmut Lingemann’s spacer profiles, because this is an example which shows that potential applications can be found in areas that do not come to ones mind immediately. And even though it offers a potential for high volumes of a bioplastic material,” said Michael Thielen, publisher of bioplastics MAGAZINE and member of the jury. “And the application makes use of the biopolymers very special properties, in this case the mechanical and thermal properties combined with the very important feature of ‘no fogging’ which is essential for this application.
In addition the chosen biopolymer blend features very special adhesion properties and allows high speed bending procedures of the profiles. Modern thermal insulation technology meets modern materials; this is how ecological development should look like in todays technology age", Michael Thielen added.
The other four finalists were:
Kuender & Co., Ltd. and SUPLA Material Technology Co. Ltd. together bring bioplastics into durable applications.
Kuender presents an AIO (All-In-One) PC with 21.5” touch screen, and a naked-eye 3D media player, by using SUPLA’s new grade of durable PLA blend in their housings. This is the first time that PLA has been used for mass production of consumer electronics and implies that PLA can replace oil-based plastics such as HIPS and ABS, and alleviate our dependency on fossil fuels.
Facing the challenge of demanding physical properties of the material and the stability of dimensions, SUPLA started the first step by choosing PLA homopolymers from Corbion/Purac’s lactide monomers, which are GMO free and have better potential in physical properties to rival their oil-based counterparts. SUPLA then balanced the properties of the resulting blend to the heat resistance, flame retardant, toughness and dimensional stability with fast cycle time during injection. Under a close partnership with SUPLA, Kuender was able to master the technology for injection of PLA blends. The resulting new front and back covers of the AIO PC passed the test standards originally used for ABS. Kuender launched this new project to provide brand customers with a greener solution by choosing a biobased material in addition to Kuender’s green display technology, OGS (One Glass Solution for touch panel) design and sustainable materials. (More details can be found on page 38 in this issue of bioplastics MAGAZINE)
This year there were two second prizes with the same number of points:
Pharmafilter offers a complete new waste management system for care centers (hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). It is a revolutionary system where a hospital’s waste water stream is purified (removal of hormone disturbing substances, medication rests, blood, urine, food rests, other organic waste and bioplastics) in an anaerobic digester functioning at the hospital’s premises. The bioplastic components include bedpans (Metabolix PHA) and urine bottles (Kaneka PHBH) with more than 200 applications under development, such as dinner plates, cutlery, blood bags, medication packaging and much more). (More details can be found in bM issue 04/2011)
The liquid product is clean water, which can be discharged to the sewer or used for toilet flushing or watering the garden. This reduces the waste water charges / costs by 99.9%.
The gaseous product is methane-rich, which is used on-site for energy. One tonne of bio-waste can generate 120 m3 of biogas, which results in 200 - 250 kWh of electricity.
The solid digestate is part of the solid waste stream from the hospital. However, this solid waste stream has been reduced significantly, therefore delivering a vast reduction in road movements of waste trucks and costs for removal, transportation and processing.
Currently there are two Dutch hospitals running with the Pharmafilter waste management system. Today Pharmafilter has 10 more projects for similar systems with hospitals in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Every year globally more than 100 million tonnes of milk, which is no longer marketable and subject to legislation, should not be used as food, but is scrapped
Qmilch Deutschland GmbH is the owner of a unique technology for the production of textile fibres made from the milk protein casein coming from dairy waste and 100% solely natural and renewable resources in an efficient and ecological manufacturing process.
The textile fibres can be used for apparel applications, home textiles, industrial applications, medical and automotive equipment. Qmilk is working to further develop the unique biopolymer for excellent product quality and outstanding products in the field of man-made fibres.
The advantage of the new manufacturing process is the ability to produce a biopolymer comprising 100% natural and renewable raw materials. To produce 1 kg a maximum of 2 litres of water are needed. Qmilk is a cross-linked, thermoset material. The cross-linking of the molecules makes the material (including the fibres) water resistant, as opposed to approaches in the past when chemicals had be added to achieve water resistant casein-based fibres.
In addition to the manufacturing of the fibres (a 1,000 tonnes per annum plant is being installed right now) Qmilk is also setting up a decentralised system for collection of the waste milk and pre-processing into casein. (More details can be found in bM issue 05/2013)
We plant trees for CO2 reduction. But to plant trees we need wooden tree stakes. For this we sacrifice a tree that is 10 to 15 years old! Everyone is familiar with the streetscape: initially everything looks tidy and stands up straight, but after a few years the tree and tree stakes are poorly cared for. All that we are left with is a ‘lazy’ tree supported by two dead or dying trees. A sad, but above all, unnecessary image!
The Eco Keeper is a patented product that is the most important part of Natural Plastics’ underground tree anchoring system. Eco Keeper anchors the tree robustly, easily and sustainably. No supporting tree stakes are necessary.
The system comprises the following elements (made from either PLA or Cradonyl, a bioplastic material from Biome):
NatuRope, a rope/cable made from PLA. The quality, strength and usage are similar to rope made of polypropylene and nylon.
NatuDrain, a venting and watering drain (perforated flexible hose) which supports trees in their growth.
Natusheet, for watering purposes, root guidance and protection.
Driver and pre-driver (metal, to be re-used as tool)
In Northern Europe (Scandinava, France, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium), each year 10 million trees are planted with stakes. If these trees were planted with Eco Keeper this would save 70 million Euros and a lot of CO2 by not using traditional plastics for ropes, drains etc.
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