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Issue 02/2015

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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1502

Materials Itaconic

Materials Itaconic acid-based monomers and polymers By: Marco Scoponi Advanced polymer Materials Ferrara, Italy Fig. 1 Biobased UV curable mixtures used as white inks for PLA bottles. The mission of Advanced Polymer Materials (APM), a company formed in 2007 as a spin-off for new business initiatives proposed by researchers of the University of Ferrara (Italy), is to provide technical assistance for processing and quality control of several kinds of polymer materials, such as thermoplastic commodities, thermosets and UV curable mixtures. Today APM is a dynamic company satisfying different needs in the field of plastics by applying methods for the determination of physicalchemical properties, rheological, morphological and thermomechanical properties of thermoplastic polymers, elastomers and thermal- and UV-curable monomers for the production of paints, inks and adhesives. In recent years, APM has also developed, in collaboration with several small and medium-sized Italian companies, new polymer materials for areas of application having special attention to polymer materials with low environmental impact used for flexible packaging of food and drink. Since October 2013 APM has been the project leader of BiMoP (European project Life12/env/ it/600), which is focused on the applications of itaconic acid (IA) and its derivatives as monomers for the production of thermoand UV-curable mixtures used for coatings, inks and adhesives, in collaboration with Polynt and Imperial italian companies. The commercially available IA, derived from the biotransformation of starch-based biomasses from agricultural surpluses or non-food industrial processes, has been used by Polynt for the production of unsaturated polyester resins and di-alkylester derivatives as monomers. These new biomaterials are suitable to be used in combination with biodegradable and compostable thermoplastic polymers as sustainable and safe materials for packaging applications, such as polylactic acid (PLA). Finally, another important aspect of the project BiMoP is the proposal of new polymers completely derived from renewable resources as crosslinking agents, for biocomposite polymer matrices, as an alternative to conventional materials, so avoiding emissions during the production of styrene with harmful effects to human health and the environment. Furthermore, IA has been used as modifier for polyolefins, replacing the maleic anhydride for hot melt adhesive applications. The bio-based unsaturated polyesters and monomers have been used for the production of flexible abrasive tapes (Imperial) and laminates in line with European regulations suggesting an emission decrease of formaldehyde by replacing the phenol-formaldehyde resins with water-based epoxy resins having IA derivatives as curing agents. Preliminary studies have demonstrated that IA– based monomers and unsaturared polyesters can be successfully applied as thermo- and UV-curable resins for surface coatings, inks and adhesives for food packaging film and bottles (see fig. 1), whilst maintaining the biodegradability and compostability properties as requested by the EN 13432. www.apmlab.com www.life-bimop.eu 48 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10

Report Polypropylene from palm oil Indonesian government to explore CPO use in plastics The government of Indonesia is currently conducting a feasibility study to see if crude palm oil (CPO) could be used as an alternative raw material source for the plastics industry in a move that could cut costs and use more renewable materials, according to a government official. The director for basic chemical industries at the Indonesian Industry Ministry, M. Khayam, said the country was looking to substitute the use of naphtha-based propylene with CPObased propylene. “We’re working on a pilot project to turn CPO into propane, which will be further processed into propylene. Most of the current propylene is made from naphtha, and it’s expensive,” Khayam told reporters. Khayam said the Industry Ministry in cooperation with the Agency for the Assessment and Application of Technology (BPPT), was trying to catch up with the most recent technological advances in the industry, allowing it to cut back on costs by sourcing cheaper and renewable materials like CPO. Soaring production costs have become the bane of the petrochemical industry, due to the country’s dependency on raw material imports and the rupiah’s recent volatility. According to ministry data, raw materials make up 80 % of production costs in the upstream petrochemicals industry, while contributing around 60 % to costs in the downstream sector. In an effort to reduce the country’s reliance on naphtha as a source material, the director said Rp 25 billion from the 2015 revised state budget was allocated to fund the studies, including for the construction of small test production facilities. Wider implementation of the project is expected to commence in 2016, he added. Furthermore, Khayam revealed that the government was considering whether to appoint state-owned plantation firm PT Perkebunan Nusantara as the project’s sole operator, or whether to have the firm cooperate with Jakarta-listed petrochemical producer Chandra Asri Petrochemical (CAP), currently the only producer operating a naphtha cracker in the country. The firm recently announced plans to construct a condensate splitter refinery in Banten with oil and gas firm BP Singapore Pte Ltd., to boost its naphtha production. The refinery is slated for operation in 2019. Contacted separately, the Indonesian Olefin, Aromatic and Plastic Industry Association’s (INAplas) deputy chairman, Budi Sadiman, said Indonesia would benefit from this plan, as it gave the nation an edge in the industry. As the world’s largest CPO producer at a production rate of 31 million tons per year, Budi said using the cash crop to produce raw materials for the domestic plastics industry could prove more efficient than sourcing naphtha from abroad. “This project will ensure that Indonesia gains a competitive advantage because we produce a large amount of CPO,” Budi said. “Commodity prices are currently low and there’s a chance to add value.” Budi said a production facility could be built in Sumatra, where most large-scale palm oil plantations are situated, or in Cilegon, Banten, where CAP resides. “Unless the government decides to build a factory,” he added. According to the Industry Ministry, 20 % of the country’s CPO production was geared toward engineering propane, a raw material for producing olefins and liquid petroleum gas. Meanwhile, 2014 INAplas data show that the demand of petrochemical raw materials for plastics stands at 4.3 million tons, whereas Indonesia’s production capacity for resin, an intermediary product for plastic production, stands at 2.2 to 2.5 million tons per year. Source: Daily „The Jakarta Post“, Jakarta; 21 Feb 2015 bioplastics MAGAZINE [02/15] Vol. 10 49

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