Turning cooking oil into bioplastic


According to bioplastics specialist Bio-on, used cooking oil has unfairly been branded as a waste product without value. When used to produce bioplastics, it’s a resource.

aThe discovery was long in the making but Bio-on has now been successful in demonstrating that it is possible to use waste cooking oils for the production of the company’s proprietary 100% biobased and biodegradable Minerv PHAs.

"This important news is the result of two years of research activities and allows Bio-on to draw on the enormous quantities of this waste – explained Marco Astorri, President and CEO of Bio-on - especially in markets such as North America and Asia, where the consumption of fried foods is high and the amount of exhausted oil exceeds, according to our estimate, one billion liters per day. A waste product, which must be disposed and treated with high costs, also environmental, becomes a "raw material" to feed the bacteria that produce PHA bioplastics according to the completely natural Bio-on process".

The waste cooking oil is added to the "raw materials" already used to produce Bio-on bioplastics (beet molasses and sugar cane, fruit and potato wastes, carbohydrates in general and crude glycerol) but, for the first time, the carbon source which feeds the biopolymer production process is of a lipid nature. Thanks to a preventive treatment systems for waste frying oil, the bioplastic produced has the same characteristics as that generated from other wastes, co- and by-products of agro-industrial productions. This discovery was made by Business Unit RAF (Recovery and Fermentation) in the new Bio-on plant in Castel San Pietro Terme, Bologna Italy.