22. Mar 2017
VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd has developed high-performance lightweight 100% biobased stand-up pouches offering excellent oxygen, grease and mineral oil barrier properties. The trick? Different biobased coatings on paper substrate.
"One-third of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally. Packaging with efficient barrier properties is a crucial factor in the reduction of the food loss. Our solution offers an environmentally friendly option for the global packaging industry", says Senior Scientist Jari Vartiainen of VTT.
The pouches exploit VTT's patent-pending high consistency enzymatic fibrillation of cellulose (HefCel) technology. This technology provides a low-cost method for the production of nanocellulose, resulting in a tenfold increase in the solids content of nanocellulose. Nanocellulose has been shown to be potentially very useful for a number of future technical applications. The densely-packed structure is what provides nanocellulose films and coatings with their outstanding oxygen, grease and mineral oil barrier properties.
HefCel technology exploits industrial enzymes and simple mixing technology as tools to fibrillate cellulose into nanoscale fibrils without the need for high energy consuming process steps. The resulting nanocellulose is in the consistency of 15-25% when traditional nanocellulose production methods result in 1-3% consistency.
The stand-up pouch is the fastest growing type of packaging, growing at a rate of 6.5% per year from 2015-2020. Fossil-based plastic films still dominate the packaging market. However, the development of environmentally friendly new materials is of growing importance. Nanocellulose has been shown to be potentially very useful for a number of future technical applications.
VTT has solid expertise in various bio-based raw materials and their application technologies for producing bio-based coatings, films and even multilayered structures both at lab-scale and pilot-scale. A versatile set of piloting facilities are available from raw material sourcing through processing to application testing and demonstration.