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01 | 2010

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News Public Relations

News Public Relations Exercise for Biobased Materials As part of this year‘s ‘Green Week’ in Berlin, Germany the subject of biopolymers was brought closer to the attention of the end consumer. Working in association with the German Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection the Hanover University of Applied Sciences and Arts gave a presentation of bioplastics at the ‘nature.tec’ special technical exhibition on renewable resources. To show the visitors where bioplastics are currently in widespread use, a display of various items of catering cutlery and plates etc, through to office and sports equipment based on different biopolymers was presented. In addition different biopolymers and colour systems from BASF, FKuR and Sukano were processed right there on the stand using a Dr. Boy high precision injection moulding machine. The exhibition was a successful opportunity to discuss directly with consumers and to make them more aware of these new materials. Futerro Starts up PLA Demo Unit End of last year, Futerro, a 50/50 joint venture established in September 2007 by Galactic and Total Petrochemicals, announced the start up of its demo unit in Escanaffles, Belgium. The purpose of the unit is to test a state-of-the-art technology for the production of PolyLactic Acid (PLA) bioplastics of renewable vegetable origin, developed by the two partners. This clean, innovative and competitive technology, based on a research and development program launched at the creation of the joint venture, entails two main phases. The first is the preparation of the monomer – the lactide – and its purification from lactic acid, as part of the fermentation of sugar from beet (note: Lactic acid can be extracted from other plants, including cane, maize (corn) and wheat. Renewable resources like biomass (forest waste) are also envisaged in the future). The second is the polymerisation of the monomer to produce biodegradable plastic granules of vegetable origin. The demo unit, which has a capacity of 1,500 tonnes per year, will be used to test and improve the successive steps in this process during an internal evaluation, which is expected to last around six months. By that time, Futerro will be able to offer a full range of products made from lactic acid, including lactide, oligomers and PLA polymers for the packaging market, especially food packaging, on the one hand, and sustainable applications, on the other. www.futerro.com FKuR expands into North America FKuR Kunststoff GmbH, leading developer and supplier of sustainable plastic compounds headquartered in Willich, Germany, is now expanding its activities into USA and Canada. Since the beginning of this year, FKuR Plastics Corp. with a four member team around President Patrick Zimmermann is marketing the Bio-Flex ® , Biograde ® and Fibrolon ® products lines from Cedar Park, Texas, USA. FKuR started its activities in the field of bioplastics in 2003. “Green plastics are the inevitable future and on our way out of the oil dependence, we are scientifically supported by Fraunhofer UMSICHT when developing our sustainable products“, says Patrick Zimmermann. During the last four years the company saw an annual increase in turnover of 50 percent. Now FKuR wants to expand this success story to North America. After thoroughly watching and evaluating the market, as a strategic milestone FKuR participated in NPE 2009 in Chicago, and “was positively surprised about the dynamic market development in USA and Canada“, as Patrick put it. This confirmed all strategic evaluations and convinced FKuR to now start up a branch establishment in Texas. In the beginning, with Bio-Flex blends made from PLA for e.g. pouches, mulch film, waste bags or diapers, FKuR‘s main focus was on compostable packaging (ASTM 6400, EN 13432). Now they also increase their activities in the field of durable applications. The cellulose based Biograde injection molding grades and natural fiber reinforced compounds Fibrolon are very well suited for injection molding of durable and even technical applications such as automotive, household appliances or consumer electronics. “Depending on the future development and before the background that a part of our raw materials are being produced in USA anyway, it is projected to expand our US-activities into building a production facility within the next three years“, closes Patrick. www.fkur.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/10] Vol. 5

News Note to the Editor Berlin, January 25, 2010: European Bioplastics would make the following comments regarding the statements made in the article on oxo-fragmentable, so called ‘oxo-biodegradable‘, plastics by Professor Scott published in the Nov./Dec. edition of bioplastics magazine 06/2009: This article, written on behalf of Symphony Environmental Technologies (UK), contains absolutely no experimental data based on the ASTM D6954-04 Standard Guide. The ASTM Guide is quoted several times in the article, but no laboratory results for the oxo-fragmentable plastics whatsoever are stated. The article therefore still lacks scientific data about biodegradation (timeframe, final level and pre-conditions needed to reach it). Furthermore, the article contains some inaccuracies that could lead a non specialist reader to wrongly believe that ASTM D6954 is establishing ‘pass/fail‘ criteria on biodegradation. In reality, these ‘pass/fail‘ criteria are only to determine when to stop the biodegradation test and are not at all thresholds that prove biodegradability. European Bioplastics considers standards and scientific data based on standards as the pillars of a transparent and sustainable market. On the other hand, European Bioplastics acknowledges and appreciates the clear statement of Prof. Scott that oxo-fragmentable plastics are not compostable, which sweeps away some precedent misunderstandings on that subject. For up to date information as to the nature of oxo-fragmentable plastics, European Bioplastics refers the reader to the following links on its website: http://www.european-bioplastics.org/media/files/docs/en-pub/European_Bioplastics_OxoPositionPaper.pdf http://www.european-bioplastics.org/index.php?id=1078 Hasso von Pogrell Braskem and Novozymes to Make Green Plastic Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in Latin America, and Novozymes, the world’s leading producer of industrial enzymes, today announced a research partnership to develop large-scale production of polypropylene (PP) from sugarcane. “Braskem was the first company in the world to produce a 100% certified green polypropylene on an experimental basis. The partnership with Novozymes will further boost Braskem’s technology development and be a key step in the company’s path to consolidate its worldwide leadership in green polymers, all leveraged by Brazil’s competitive advantages within renewable resources,” says Bernardo Gradin, CEO of Braskem. Today, the commodity plastic PP is primarily derived from oil, but Braskem and Novozymes will develop a green alternative based on Novozymes’ core fermentation technology and Braskem’s expertise in chemical technology and thermoplastics. Initial development will run for at least five years. “We live in a world where oil is limited and expensive, and the chemical industry is looking for alternatives to its petroleumbased products. Novozymes’ partnership with Braskem is a move toward a green, bio-based economy, in which sugar will be the new oil,” says Steen Riisgaard, CEO of Novozymes. Both companies have ongoing interests in a bio-based economy: Braskem is currently building a 200,000-tons-per-year green polyethylene plant in Brazil with ethanol from sugarcane as the raw material. Novozymes is producing enzymes to turn agricultural waste into advanced biofuels and has partnered to convert renewable raw materials into acrylic acid. www.braskem.com www.novozymes.com bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/10] Vol. 5

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