30. Jul 2020

Carbiolice and Barbier Group partner on development new PLA-based biodegradable mulch film

Carbiolice, a French start-up developing and producing biobased, biodegradable and compostable plastic solutions has joined forces with agricultural film manufacturer Barbier Group to develop a new PLA-based mulch film.

Carbiolice has produced an enzymatic additive called Evanesto that, when added to PLA compounds during the converting process, enables PLA to biodegrade at ambient temperatures, considerably speeding up the biodegradation process of the PLA at the end of life, the firm said. Evanesto is composed of enzymes that act as catalysers, to trigger the disintegration of the plastic so that it can be assimilated more quickly by the compost’s microorganisms.

The additive is based on a heat-protected enzyme produced by Carbiolice’s partner, Novozymes, and remains inactive throughout the product’s useful life.

Together the companies aim to create a new type of biodegradable mulch film with a higher content of bio-based plastics (PLA), containing the Evanesto additive. Current films contain a limited concentration of PLA. Adding Evanesto, enables a PLA content of 20% to be achieved, increasing the ratio of renewable resources and extending the lifespan, while remaining biodegradable in soil.

Following validation of the mechanical properties and residual enzymatic activity of the films produced on pilot installations at the beginning of the year, Carbiolice and Barbier Group extruded over 1000 m2 of mulch film last May for testing in real field conditions. Tests on the Evanesto-enriched mulch film are currently in progress at several experimental horticultural stations.

The trial is scheduled to last 1 year, after which polyethylene mulch films and biodegradable films without Evanesto®will be compared to mulch film additivated with Evanesto. The full results of these tests are expected in May 2021.

Nadia Auclair, CEO at Carbiolice, said: “Alongside teams from Barbier Group, Carbiolice’s long-standing partner, we are aiming to provide innovation that is 100% made in France. Moreover, we are convinced that legislation will favour accelerated adoption of biodegradable film to meet current health and environmental challenges.”

Barbier Group, which has strong ties with its local area and has placed innovation and environmental issues as strategic priorities for its development, has worked alongside Carbiolice on technical projects since its creation.

“This project therefore naturally followed, aimed at providing mulch films with Evanesto inside that meet farmers’ requirements in terms of functionality and control over the kinetics of disintegration and biodegradation, while guaranteeing the quality of the soil,” said Serge Vassal, Barbier Group CEO,

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