1st PHA platform World Congress

bioplastics daily news
  • Pilot plant BioBTX commences operation


    BioBTX B.V., a sustainable technology development company, today announced the official opening of the pilot plant for the production of sustainable platform chemicals in Groningen, the Netherlands.

    cBioBTX is developing a technology to convert non-food biomass and end-of-life feedstock materials into cornerstone aromatic chemicals, with a focus on Benzene, Toluene and Xylenes (“BTX”), which drop-in chemical intermediates are widely used for the production of plastics. By using renewable carbon sources, a significant contribution to the circular economy will be made, reducing the use of fossil feedstocks and lowering emission of greenhouse gases.
    This pilot plant will initially convert non-food liquid biomass, like glycerol and fatty acids. In a second stage, the unit will be made suited to process solid biomass and end-of-life materials, like plastics and composites as well. The technology is highly flexible with regards to feedstock materials.
    The pilot plant is located at Zernike Advance Processing (“ZAP”) site in Groningen the Netherlands, a semi-industrial environment with a focus on bio-based products, where knowledge institutions and businesses can take the important step from lab bench to medium scale production in green chemistry and biotechnology.
    Earlier this year, the offices of BioBTX have moved to this site, thus facilitating optimal communication and operation.
    “We are excited that we can make this next step in commercialization of our technology following successful laboratory experiments in collaboration with the University of Groningen”, Pieter Imhof, CEO of BioBTX says. “This is a milestone in our work to support the transition to a sustainable and circular economy. With this pilot plant we will be able to proof and optimize the technology and provide samples to our partners for product and application research, for example by conversion into bio-based plastics.
    The support of the shareholders as well as national (RVO), regional (SNN, Provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and municipality of Emmen) and European subsidies has enabled us to make this important step for our company.
    We are looking forward to the outcomes from our pilot plant operation, which will allow us to commercialize our technology”.

  • Silvergate, Floreon collaborate on new, versatile biocompound


    Silvergate Plastics, the UK’s largest independent manufacturer of colour masterbatch, has joined forces with Floreon-Transforming Packaging Limited, the pioneers of an advanced and versatile bioplastic formulation.

    nFloreon was born out of a need for a greener, safer form of plastic. Working in partnership with the University of Sheffield, Floreon-Transforming Packaging Limited has specifically formulated the compound from renewable plant-based raw materials.
    This advanced bioplastic uses polylactic acid (PLA) and a patented combination of additives to create an innovative material designed to outperform both competing bioplastics and conventional plastics, with the added environmental benefit of being renewable and compostable.
    The compound has multiple end-of-life options, including commercial composting with food waste, standard mechanical recycling and even feedstock recovery, turning the plastic back into its original building blocks for conversion and virgin polymer with no downcycling or loss of performance.
    Significantly, the carbon footprint of producing the PLA base material of Floreon is a fifth of that of oil-based plastics, such as polystyrene.
    PLA can be difficult to manufacture yet Floreon’s formulation makes the material easier to convert via both extrusion and injection moulding processes.
    According to independent testing, when compared to regular PLA, Floreon is four times tougher and offers up to a 40% energy saving in processing whilst maintaining all of its key environmental benefits.
    The compound offers high stiffness and rigidity with an excellent surface finish. It has a similar feel to polystyrene and offers a credible alternative for many one-use plastic applications, such as coffee cups, food trays, cutlery and straws.
    Following nine years of development, Floreon has been patented in multiple locations worldwide.
    Having created an attractive alternative to traditional oil-based plastics, its developers have identified Silvergate Plastics as a suitable manufacturing partner with whom they can realise its potential.
    Silvergate can successfully manufacture the Floreon compound, which can be used by any plastics processor. It is easy to blend, mould, shape and emboss, whilst retaining the UV stable and non-allergenic properties of PLA. It is also food contact compliant.
    Commenting on the company’s decision to produce the compound, CEO of Silvergate Plastics, Tony Bestall said:
    “Ever since the BBC aired Blue Planet II and highlighted the growing problem of plastic pollution in the world’s seas and oceans, the plastics industry has faced huge criticism with many demanding a ban on certain plastic applications. I do not believe a ban is the answer; pollution is the result of irresponsible activities; plastic is in the oceans because people put it there rather than disposing of it responsibly.
    “Instead of a ban, we should be optimising advanced technical solutions, such as Floreon. This plastic compound is made from a sustainable plant-based raw material. In industrial composting, for example, micro-enzymes ultimately feed off the material, transforming it into nothing more than water and carbon dioxide.
    According to Dr Andrew Gill, Technical Director of Floreon-Transforming Packaging Limited, nine years of research are starting to reap benefits.
    “Floreon has invested heavily over the past nine years in the development of its technology and formulations. With global patent protection and tried and tested bioplastic compounds, we are very excited to be working with Silvergate Plastics to get this technology into the market.
    As the demand for bioplastics continues to rise, Silvergate has been actively promoting this technology to its global customer base. Tony continued:
    “The response has been fantastic. Our industry does not want to be vilified and we need more innovators to work towards identifying and implementing such sustainable solutions in plastics. Floreon is a highly advanced technology that has tremendous potential. We are very proud to play a part in its history.”

  • Ecovia Renewables awarded grant to develop superabsorbent biopolymers


    Ecovia Renewables Inc. (Michigan, US) has announced that it has received a $500,000 Phase IIB Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to expand the scope of their current NSF Phase II proposal.


    The title of the proposal is "SBIR Phase II: Efficient Production of a High Performance and Eco-Friendly Superabsorbent Microbial Biopolymer for Hygiene Applications.” Ecovia Renewables will utilize its microbial fermentation process and downstream capabilities to develop low-cost, high-performing Ecovia biopolymer products for use in agricultural and horticultural applications.

    “There is a significant unmet need for high-performing, biodegradable superabsorbents in agriculture and horticulture,” says Dr. Jeremy Minty, President of Ecovia Renewables and Primary Investigator on the grant. “Superabsorbents have been shown to improve water retention in soils and growing media and can reduce watering requirements, particularly in drought-stricken areas.”

    Superabsorbent polymers (“SAPs”) are used in a variety of applications, from hygiene to agriculture to packaging, and are primarily composed of petrochemical-based synthetic polymers like polyacrylate and polyacrylamide. There are growing concerns with the use of petrochemical-based SAPs, particularly acrylamide, classified by the EPA as a Group B2 probable human carcinogen and included on California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer and/or reproductive toxicity. Despite this, they remain ubiquitous in many consumer products for their low-cost, stability, and functionality.

    Due to global challenges arising from water scarcity and the environmental and regulatory impacts from accumulating synthetic plastics in the environment, biobased and biodegradable Ecovia Biopolymers offer an eco-friendly solution while remaining functional and cost-effective.

    The National Science Foundation (NSF) awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR)/Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact.

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