1st PHA platform World Congress

bioplastics daily news
  • Bio-based multilayer transparent barrier films are now reality


    Four key players in the bioplastics industry - Eurotech Extrusion Machinery, NatureWorks, Nippon Gohsei and Sukano - have successfully processed a multilayer transparent bio-based barrier film, offering a potential replacement for conventional fossil fuel-based structures in dry food packaging.

    cWhile flexible multilayer plastic packaging makes up over 75% of the food packaging used today, it tends to be neither recyclable nor compostable. Now, four key players in the bioplastics industry have joined together and come up with a solution. Eurotech Extrusion Machinery, NatureWorks, Nippon Gohsei and Sukano have successfully developed and processed a multilayer transparent bio-based barrier film.
    PLA film made from Natureworks’ Ingeo resin is already commonly used in many types of flexible packaging. Not only does using Ingeo reduce the carbon footprint of the packaging, it also means that composting becomes an end of life option. For higher gas barrier requirements, a coating or a metallization surface treatment of the film is typically required. However, using a barrier polymer eliminates this need.
    The coex film processed at Eurotech used a K5A 5 layer blown film lab machine in a
    configuration using 2 extruders 25 mm., and 3 extruders 20 mm., including the die lip
    of 100 mm. diameter and 1.4 mm gap.
    The total film thicknesses were 45 microns, with a width of 280 mm width, contains Ingeo PLA 4043D from NatureWorks and is used in the inner A layer; an outer bubble layer E included Sukano masterbatch processing aids. These PLA-based Sukano masterbatches were specifically designed for this application. The tie layers use BTR8002P and the barrier layer uses G-polymer, both from Nippon Gohsei. This combination of formulation and process conditions yielded a stable bubble, excellent film transparency, and good roll quality.
    Testing showed that the use of Sukano masterbatches offered increased melt
    strength, and therefore better processability, good transparency and better adhesion
    during sealing. Mechanical properties were also maintained. As an additional benefit,
    each material used in the film has either been tested and certified or assessed to be
    biodegradable and industrially compostable according to European norm EN 13432.
    Less film sticking was managed via the use of slip agent bio-based masterbatches,
    which increased the processing window and ensured good processability conditions
    and a lower COF, conferring better film properties for secondary fabrication steps.
    For the barrier layer, Nichigo G-Polymer, the world’s first extrudable high barrier
    amorphous vinyl alcohol resin, was used. This provided key benefits in packaging,
    such as excellent gas and aroma barrier and high transparency, while supporting
    compostability and recyclability properties in the final film produced.

    Outstanding water solubility for solution coating barrier applications and extrudability were also evident. The G-Polymer barrier is so effective that it can replace Alu-foil in many packaging applications. And even at 4mm thickness of mono-layer G-Polymer,
    transparency was glass-like. The tie layer BTR8002P gives high adhesion between
    layers, maintaining high transparency.
    This new multilayer transparent bio-based barrier film offers packaging manufacturers a viable alternative to conventional, fossil fuel-based structures in dry food packaging such as lid films for coffee capsules or lidding films for cups and trays, flow packs, trays for snacks, and biscuits packages. And it may even extend to foods such as ham, fish, and meat when used with the proper packaging design.


  • NFL Joins the Green Sports Alliance as a League Member


    Today the Green Sports Alliance announced a league membership driven by the NFL Environmental Program. With this new membership, the Alliance will support league sustainability efforts.

    m“The Green Sports Alliance is delighted to have the NFL join our mission to support healthier, more sustainable communities where we live and play,” said Justin Zeulner, Executive Director of the Green Sports Alliance. “Several NFL teams and venues have been members of our organization for many years and we’re thrilled that the NFL, as a league, is formally pledging their commitment to the environment by joining the sports greening movement and our impressive membership base. Together we have the opportunity to inspire and educate millions of fans around environmental stewardship and engagement.”

    “Professional sports organizations compete in many areas,” said Anna Isaacson, NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility, “But sustainability is one area where the interests of all organizations converge. Protecting our shared environment and preserving it for future generations is a common goal that we all can support and upon which we can cooperate and share resources and best practices.”

    Alliance members now number nearly 600 organizations and fans representing 15 leagues in 14 countries.

    The NFL began the first environmental initiative at a major professional sporting event in 1994 at Super Bowl XXVIII in Atlanta, with the introduction of a pilot recycling program. During the past 25 years, the leagues sustainability portfolio has grown to include extensive recovery projects for both prepared food and event materials, collection for donation of hundreds of thousands of books and sports equipment items, use of green energy to power our signature events, public E-waste recycling events in partnership with NFL sponsor Verizon, and an award-winning urban and community forestry program that has left a permanent green legacy in every Super Bowl host community since 2004.

    In 2017, the Alliance honored Jack Groh, Director of the NFL’s Environmental Program, for his instrumental work in greening NFL events including Super Bowl, Pro Bowl, and the NFL Draft. With Mr. Groh’s support, the NFL has been a leader in event sustainability and continues to push forward new initiatives and environmental projects addressing the large-scale impact sporting events have, with a goal of leaving permanent green legacies in every host community they visit.

  • A lightweight biocomposite rail carriage door leaf that fully meets the most demanding FST specifications


    UK-based TRB Lightweight Structures Ltd. has developed a new biocomposite resin based CFRP door leaf with a 100% recycled foam core offering sustainable and cost-effective manufacture.

    sThis new biocomposite door leaf product has been specifically designed and fire rated for both overground and underground rail use; the composite structural system easily passes BS 6853 and BS 476, as well as being EN 45545 HL3 compliant. TRB can now offer the rail industry a sustainable, ‘green’ composite material option for carriage door leaves at a comparable cost to aluminium bonded door leaves, with a 35% weight saving. This has been achieved by TRB applying its in-house understanding of composite materials technology and expertise to railway applications, broadening its product offering to its established rail industry customer base to meet a growing global market need to use greener, more energy-efficient products.

    The design and engineering team at TRB has worked closely with a resin partner to develop a new, proprietary carbon fibre compatible bio prepreg resin. Key criteria for TRB was that the new system had to be highly sustainable and enable them to cost-effectively manufacture lighter weight composite parts that would meet even the most demanding fire, smoke and toxic fumes (FST) specifications in subterranean rail applications. The new ‘bio’ prepreg, which is non-toxic and does not use volatile organic solvents, is based on a polyfurfuryl alcohol (PFA) resin derived from a renewable alcohol produced from a natural waste bi-product from refined sugar production.

    This new biocomposite prepreg system, which TRB state is the first sustainable fire rated material of its type on the market, has been developed exclusively for TRB to manufacture components for FST rail applications; as well as carriage door leaves, the TRB bio prepreg based system can be used for other rolling stock parts. The foam core used in the rail door leaf composite structure is produced from 100% recycled consumer plastic. It was selected by TRB as the recycled foam core meets its key ‘high sustainability’ specification objective and delivers the desired overall material properties performance of the sandwich panel construction when used in combination with the woven carbon fibre fabric on both sides and the bio-resin prepreg. Other matrix design options for other applications using glass fibres, natural fibres, or aramid fibres can be custom made by TRB on request. Depending on rail customer needs, door leaves are supplied with a gelcoat, finish painted or primed ready to paint.

    The fire performance of TRB’s new biocomposite based system specified for rail carriage door leaves is outstanding. According to independent data, the sandwich panel system when tested to BS 476 Part 7: 1977 for ‘Spread of Flame’ easily achieved a Class 1 Category 1a rating, with a 30% less recorded flame spread of only 50mm in the 1.5 minute test time; the maximum allowable is 165mm for the Class 1a rating.

    Lyndon Newman, Chief Engineer for TRB said the company was ‘extremely pleased’ with the overall performance data for the new biocomposite carbon fibre prepreg sandwich panel system, in particular, the FST specifications achieved. “In the 30 years I have been in the industry I have never seen such impressive fire performance test results for a non-phenolic based thermoset system, achieving the BS standard so comfortably. Our PFA bio-resin prepreg has fire retardant properties greater than phenolics, plus excellent temperature and chemical resistance,” he noted.

    Lyndon went on to say: “We initially developed this biocomposite product for rail door leaves, but it could be used for other mass transport interior applications. We have brought aerospace prepreg technology to our rail customers and can now offer them a truly ‘green’ material design option that is 35% lighter than a bonded Aluminium door at a comparable cost.” The data provided by TRB compares a ‘like for like’ door leaf in aluminium which weighed 40kg excluding any fittings or door furniture to the same sized door produced by TRB in its new biocomposite CFRP prepreg sandwich panel system, which weighs just 26kg.

    The TRB biocomposite CFRP door leaf product, which has a 40-year life cycle expectancy, is more robust than its aluminium equivalent, has superior fatigue resistance and low maintenance costs. Due to the significant weight reduction, the composite door leaf requires a less heavy duty door operating system and provides a number of cost-saving benefits to rail operators, such as reduced energy consumption per journey; less track wear and tear. Additionally, they provide the opportunity for shorter station dwell times as the lighter door leaves open and close several seconds faster; for Transport for London, this has been calculated as a way to improve its daily underground service when installed, by enabling an additional tube train to be run per day on a line where needed to ease peak time congestion.

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