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Issue 01/2015

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  • Bioplastics
  • Biobased
  • Plastics
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  • Renewable
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  • Environmental
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Application News

Application News Bioasphalt with lignin Bioasphalt for roads in the Dutch province of Zeeland is being developed by Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research, the Asfalt Kennis Centrum (Asphalt Knowledge Centre, AKC) and the company H4A from Sluiskil, The Netherlands. Zeeland Seaports is a project partner with interest in potential applications for the asphalt. Lignin from plants in asphalt Fossil bitumen – the main glue in asphalt roads – is replaced by the biobased adhesive lignin in this innovative bioasphalt. Lignin is a natural adhesive material which gives structure to all kinds of plants and trees and is, for example, an important component of straw. The first specimens of asphalt concrete based on lignin were recently created and the involved partners are busy testing and optimising its properties. Benefits for the environment and noise levels Lignin can replace fossil bitumen (currently made from petroleum in a process which releases a great deal of CO 2 ), substantially reducing the environmental footprint of asphalt. It is also expected to improve functional properties of the asphalt, such as rolling resistance, and to make roads quieter. Various governments and companies have already shown a lot of interest in this promising development. Biobased applications in infrastructure This product is the result of the Biobased Infra project, established by NV Economische Impuls Zeeland together with Grontmij and Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research. The project comprises various forms of cooperation on applying biobased (green) materials in infrastructure. In addition to the use of lignin in asphalt, Zeeland Seaports, Cargill and Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research also wish to chart possible sources of lignin-rich biomass streams in Zeeland and beyond. The two-year project also involves the realisation of a road or parking space with lignin asphalt by the partners involved in the second year (2015). This will test the functional properties of the bioasphalt in practice. The Biobased Infra project also includes work on concrete that is reinforced with biofibres and the development of products from prunings, verge grass and the like. The province of Zeeland and the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs are providing full support to this initiative in Zeeland to apply more biobased materials in the infrastructure. New compostable capsule for hot beverages ICA Spa – leader since 1963 in the design, development and production of packaging machines from flexible materials and of complete lines for hot beverage single serve capsules, with API Spa, a long-standing company with a wealth of experience in the soft thermoplastic compounds field and leader of the biopolymer industry, and SACMI – an international group that leads the world in machines for packaging including beverage closures and containers, together have designed and developed compostable single serve capsules for hot beverages. Introduced a few months ago the 100% biodegradable, compostable capsule proved to be a big hit, arousing considerable levels of interest and curiosity. The capsule was designed by ICA and manufactured using a compound from the APINAT BIO range. Thanks to their chemical structure and versatility, these compounds can easily be processed using widely available technologies, and have an extensive application range, being used in industries as varied as footwear, agriculture and, of course, packaging. Thanks to the unique rheology and behaviour of the molten material, Apinat Bio has been able to take full advantage of the capmaking compression technology for which Sacmi is so renowned. The flexibility of this technology has resulted in optimisation of the Apinat compound and attainment of outstanding production output (up to 600 capsules/minute in a CCM 24 cavity machine), as well as functional, biodegradable and compostable performance of the capsule. Stemming from a joint project by ICA Spa, API Spa and Sacmi, this latest development confirms and reinforces these Italian leading firms’ commitment to the high-innovation development needed to resolve the planet’s burgeoning environmental issues and finally offering consumers a truly completely biodegradable and compostable capsule for hot beverages.MT | | 32 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/15] Vol. 10

Market News Bioplastics production capacities to grow by more than 400 % by 2018 The results of European Bioplastics’ annual market data update, presented in early December 2014 at the 9th European Bioplastics Conference in Brussels, confirm the positive growth trend of the global bioplastics production capacities. “The market is predicted to grow by more than 400 % in the mid-term,” stated François de Bie, Chairman of European Bioplastics. The data compiled in cooperation with its respected scientific partners – the IfBB - Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Hannover, Germany) and the nova-Institute (Hürth, Germany) – shows that bioplastics production capacity is set to increase from around 1.6 million tonnes in 2013 to approximately 6.7 million tonnes by 2018. Biobased, non-biodegradable plastics, such as biobased PE and biobased PET, are gaining the most. PLA is a major growth driver in the field of biobased and biodegradable plastics. Furthermore, renewable and compostable plastics produced locally are likely to benefit from the new EU directive on the reduction of shopping bags. Flexible and rigid packaging remains by far the leading application field for bioplastics. “Besides this, a decisive growth can be observed in textiles and automotive applications. From functional sports garments with enhanced breathability to fuel lines – bioplastics are constantly spreading into new markets,” explained de Bie. With a view to regional capacity development, Asia will expand its role as major production hub. Most of the currently planned projects are being implemented in Thailand, India and China. About 75 % of bioplastics will be produced in Asia by 2018. In comparison: Europe at the forefront of research and development will be left with only roughly 8 % of the production capacities. Additionally, other regions of the world, such as the USA and Asia, invest into measures ‘closer to market introduction’, which results in a faster market development than in Europe. “We urge the EU legislators to consider and make efficient use of the immense environmental, economic growth and job creation potential of our industry. In this context, the Circular Economy Package should remain in the Commission’s 2015 Work Programme and the Waste Target Review should proceed as planned,” concluded de Bie. MT | | 7,000 6,731 6,000 1,126 5,000 1,000 metric t 4,000 3,000 3,613 1,060 5,605 2,000 1,000 1,492 571 1,622 1,670 610 643 1,936 2,039 759 862 2,553 921 1,011 1,028 1,177 1,177 0 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Biodegradable | Biobased/non-biodegradable | Total capacity | Forecast 2018 Global production capacities of bioplastics (Source: European Bioplastics, Institute for Bioplastics & Biocomposites, nova-Institute (2014) bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/15] Vol. 10 33

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