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Issue 01/2019

  • Text
  • Renewable
  • Sustainable
  • Packaging
  • Biodegradable
  • Materials
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biobased
  • Bioplastics
Highlights: Automotive Foam Basics: Green public procurement Cover Story: PHB for food packaging

10 Years ago F In

10 Years ago F In addition, until recently, PLA couldn’t be applied to applications such as expanded bead foam. The thermal properties as well as its brittleness did not allow reheating and expansion, but a solution was found for this. Additional opportunities are also identified since Purac started a new D-Lactide production last year, Synbra envisages now to also to use a stereocomplex PLA made from Purac’s new D-lactide monomer, yielding foam with microwavable capabilities. The first results are extremely promising and prototypes were made. The prestigious NRK sustainable innovation award 2008/2009 was handed over by MVO chairman Wim Lageweg to Synbra’s Lex Edelman, Jan Noordegraaf and Wout Abbenhuis A big advantage is that BioFoam can be custom expanded to densities between 20-40 grams per litre (g/l), without a limitation in moulded size. Achievable densities are far lower than with continuously extruded PLA (in an XPS like process) which hovers around 100-150g/l. “No wonder,“ Noordegraaf says, ”that particle foam E-PLA is perceived to be superior to X-PLA and he adds “because E-PLA foam creates the highest amount of parts per kilo.” The main markets for BioFoam are for example specialty packaging for consumer goods and cushion filling made from biobased materials. The maker of the famous Fatboy beanbag furniture, the dutch company Fatboy the Original bv, is about to use BioFoam beads for filling. For the cold chain transport sector DGP-Group of York (UK) is the leading launch customer. Foam End of last year Synbra started up a demonstration and product development plant located at Sulzer Chemtech in Switzerland. This unit, for the time being only available to partners of Purac, shall facilitate both product and process development to meet various application and customer demands. A production plant in Etten-Leur, the Netherlands with a capacity of 5,000 t/a is targeted to be operational by the end of 2009. Synbra intends to assume a leading position in Europe as supplier of biologically degradable foamed polymers from renewable sources and plans to expand the PLA capacity to 50,000 t/a. Expanded PLA as a particle foam Starting in Europe, Synbra already has plans to bring their BioFoam to North America in a partnership with a US based company. “BioFoam will be global,” as Jan Noordegraaf puts it. In January 2009 Synbra was awarded the prestigious PRIMA ondernemen gold innovation award by the Dutch rubber and plastics association (NRK) for its exemplary innovative and sustainable development. bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 23 The product development team of Synbra, Matthijs Gebraad, Jürgen de Jong and Hans van Sas showing the largest BioFoam part moulded to date T he first PLA producer that signed a partner contract with Purac and Sulzer Chemtech (see page 18) to produce their own PLA is the Dutch company Synbra from Etten-Leur, a company that has been producing EPS (expanded Polystyrene – a mouldable styrenics based particle foam) for many years. Now as customers from Synbra are increasingly looking for environmentally benign and sustainable solutions, Synbra wanted to find a biodegradable alternative based on renewable resources. Together with the University of Wageningen, The Netherlands, Synbra had already developed a process for E-PLA using CO 2 instead of pentane as a blowing agent. Thus the E-PLA does not contain any volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The E-PLA foam, now marketed under the brand name BioFoam ® offers comparable or even better properties compared to EPS in properties like shock absorption, insulation value and moulding shrinkage. In order to better distinguish BioFoam from EPS and other particle foams, Synbra’s E-PLA plans to colour it in a light green tone. Although the situation seems to have eased, at the time they could not buy PLA. Synbra decided to make it themselves. “NatureWorks told us at that time to come back in three years“ says Jan Noordegraaf, Managing Director of Synbra and we would not wait so long”. Earlier in their polystyrene business Synbra had decided to go one step further in the value chain and polymerise their own Polystyrene, so now it was a logic step for them to do the same with PLA. “Then we found Purac, the market leader for lactic acid was only 40 km away from us. And Purac together with Sulzer were offering exactly what we were looking for, so it was clear for us what we had to do,” adds Jan Noordegraaf. 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/09] Vol. 4 44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/19] Vol. 14

oam Automotive Process PLA with Improved Molecular Weight Retention 10 Years ago REDUCED ENERGY CONSUMPTION LOWER MELT TEMPERATURE HIGHER FILL LEVELS Published in bioplastics MAGAZINE FREE white paper on the advantages of processing PLA using Continuous Mixing technology. Get your advanced copy today. In January 2019, Jan Noordegraaf, Managing Director of Synbra Technology bv, said: Since 2009, we made great improvement in applications cost, quality and reproducibility. We obtained acceptance by major brand owners in furniture and white goods. We found innovative and new applications, such as the infill for soccer fields (see p. 34 for details). We are replacing traditional EPS in fishboxes, bean bags and icecream packaging. Another innovative end of life solution is the hotbin composting concept. The FARREL POMINI Continuous Mixing technology is proven to process PLA at lower melt temperatures than twin screw extruders. These lower melt temperatures translate into improved molecular weight retention, reduced energy consumption and higher throughput rates when compared to other PLA processing techniques. If you are interested in improving your PLA processing, contact a FARREL POMINI representative today or visit to request an advanced copy of our free white paper on PLA production and the advantages of Continuous Mixing technology. Come learn more at ANTEC ® 2019 March 18 – 21 Detroit, MI USA

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