26. May 2023

Renewable Materials of the Year 2023

Renewable Materials of the Year 2023

With the innovation award “Renewable Material of the Year 2023”, nova-Institute (organiser – Hürth, Germany) and Covestro (sponsor – Leverkusen, Germany) recognise three particularly exciting and promising solutions that contribute to replacing fossil carbon from the ground.

The call for submissions was answered by 30 companies, three of them were now chosen by the participants of the Renewable Materials Conference.

The Winner:
KUORI – Biobased and Biodegradable Elastic Materials (KUORI – Basel, Switzerland)
KUORI are developing and producing biobased and biodegradable elastic materials based on food waste such as banana peels and nutshells. They are sustainable alternatives for conventional elastic materials in various applications.
Their first use case are shoe soles. They are working together with shoe producers who make soles from their materials. This avoids the accumulation of persistent microplastics and offers an ecological end of life perspective for the product.

Their materials can be fully reintegrated into the biological cycle by industrial composting. Hence, their materials enable a circular business model for shoe producers and other manufacturers of goods.

Second Place:
Carbon-light yeast oil (COLIPI – Hamburg, Germany)
COLIPI develops innovative bioprocesses for the transformation of CO2 to sustainable carbon-light alternatives to plant oils like palm oil. The core innovation and enabler is a patented gas fermentation bioreactor that safely unlocks world’s fastest CO2 utilizing microorganisms which turn off-gasses containing CO2 (directly), H2 and O2 to carbohydrate rich biomass. These biomasses and/or industrial organic side streams serve as feedstock for heterotrophic fermentations, e.g. yeast oil fermentation.

Certain yeast strains have the strength of feedstock agnosticism: a vast variety of different feedstocks can serve as carbon source, among others C5 sugars, C6 sugars, volatile fatty acids, and fat residues. Colipi is actively engaged in joint research and development with large corporations which provide potential feedstocks whereas Colipi tests them for purpose fit. The product consists of triacylglycerides, in composition equivalent to those of plants e.g oil palm, mainly consisting of C16:0, C18:0 and C18:1 fatty acids. Further valuable molecules like antioxidative vitamins namely astaxanthin, tocopherols, and other carotenoids are produced.

Life cycle assessments and techno economic analyses were conducted, expressing both: unparalleled low CO2 footprints of the products and economic viability. The fermentation with two separate process steps will in future be simplified to a one-step process.

Third Place:
traceless® – Natural polymer (traceless materials – Hamburg, Germany)
Traceless® is part of a new generation of natural polymer materials. The material is based on plant residues of the agricultural industry and contains 100 % biobased carbon content – hereby supporting the transition from fossils to renewables, while additionally avoiding direct food conflict. Furthermore traceless® is a toxic-free and climate friendly solution, as the production and disposal emit up to 95 % less CO2 compared to conventional plastics. The patent-pending production technology is scalable and efficient, saving by average 83 % of fossil energy demand during production. The start-up produces traceless® as a base material in granulate form.

The plastics- and packaging industry can further process this granulate to rigid applications, flexible films, coatings, or adhesives, using standard converting technologies. This way, traceless® can be used in a wide variety of end products – from single-use products over rigid and flexible packaging to products with high abrasion and coating & adhesive solutions. AT


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