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Issue 04/2019

  • Text
  • Bioplastics
  • Materials
  • Biobased
  • Products
  • Plastics
  • Biocomposites
  • Biodegradable
  • Carbon
  • Germany
  • Properties
Highlights: Blowmoulding Composites Basics: Home Composting Cover Story: Cove PHA Bottles

Machinery Biodegradable

Machinery Biodegradable blown film in West Africa Manufacturer in Benin switches from polyethylene-based to biodegradable products with help from Coperion Coperion (Stuttgart, Germany) has enabled Benin (West Africa)-based blown film manufacturer Asahel Benin Sarl. to produce sustainable, biobased plastic films in the future by delivering a complete compounding system and sharing the corresponding process engineering expertise. Before plastic bags and packaging were banned in Benin in July of 2018, this west African manufacturer had made its plastic films using polyethylene (PE). The new law forced the company to completely convert its production. Following a successful test and training phase at Coperion’s Stuttgart test lab, Asahel Benin will produce biodegradable compounds in its home country with the aid of a ZSK twin screw extruder and will then further process these on its existing blown film machinery into biodegradable bags and packaging materials. Importation, production, sale, and possession of petroleum-based plastic bags and packaging has been forbidden in Benin since 2018. Until then, Asahel Benin had used both new PE compounds as well as recyclate for manufacturing its films that were then used predominantly in household products and in shopping bags for supermarkets. Intensive tests at Stuttgart test lab When the new law took effect, the blown film manufacturer had to radically alter its production. Asahel Benin turned to the compounding experts at Coperion. From this first contact, a cooperative partnership quickly arose, as did a new corporate strategy thereafter. Asahel Benin ordered a laboratory-scale compounding system to develop a biodegradable compound formulation that could be used in existing blown film manufacturing facilities. The lab-scale system includes a ZSK 26 Mc18 twin screw extruder, four highly accurate powder, pellet, and liquid feeders, as well as a water bath, an air wipe and a strand pelletizer type SP 50. Before the complete system could be delivered to Benin and put into service, it was assembled and tested intensively at Coperion’s Stuttgart location in the test lab. Sharing process engineering expertise Throughout the entire project, Asahel Benin could fall back on Coperion’s comprehensive, process engineering expertise, for both the mastery of the entire system’s complexity as well of as the seamless interaction of its components, and in particular relating to the twin screw extruder’s configuration. Formulations with starch content, for example, represent a particular challenge for configuring the twin screws, as the melting zone in the extrusion process must both melt polymers and plastify non-meltable starch while adding liquid. Moreover, David Romaric Tinkou, Development Leader of Asahel Benin Sarl., received comprehensive training on the compounding machine’s operation. Thus began the development of a formulation for the necessary biopolymer. Flexible set up Coperion’s experts designed the compounding system for Asahel Benin very flexibly in order to enable maximum freedom in developing a suitable formulation. In so doing, the system can allow materials to be added from many different components as well as intensive melt devolatilization. Following the die head with nozzle comes a water bath for strand cooling, dewatering of the strand surfaces using an air wipe, and a strand pelletizer. David Romaric Tinkou is very satisfied with how the project went: “It was clear quite quickly that we needed a new business strategy to keep operating our blown film plants here in Benin. I’m very happy that with Coperion, I encountered experienced experts in the field of biodegradable compounds. Coperion delivered not only the necessary technology, but also shared the necessary process engineering expertise with me so that we can manufacture biodegradable compounds ourselves now in Benin.” Peter von Hoffmann, General Manager Business Unit Engineering Plastics & Special Applications at Coperion, explained: “We’re thrilled that we could support Asahel Benin in switching over their production in order to accomplish it more sustainably. Biodegradable compounds from renewable raw materials unite high productiontechnical demands with environmental sustainability. Particularly for manufacturers of short-lived household, industrial and agricultural products, these compounds represent a long-term, sustainable alternative to petroleum-based raw materials such as PE. Typical areas of application include single-use flatware, trash bags and trash can liners, food packaging, shopping bags, drinking straws, and agricultural films.” From left to right: Peter von Hoffmann, General Manager Business Unit Engineering Plastics & Special Applications; Levin Batschauer, Sales Manager Special Applications; Markus Fiedler, Senior Process Engineer (all from Coperion) and David Romaric Tinkou of Asahel Benin Sarl., in front of the ZSK system at the Coperion test lab in Stuttgart. Photo: Coperion, Stuttgart 22 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14

Materials PHA’s: the natural materials of the future A White Paper Polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHA’s are a series of natural bio-benign materials that have appeared in nature for over 3 billion years, similar to other natural materials like wood, other cellulose based materials, proteins and starch. PHA’s were first discovered in 1888 and first isolated and characterized in 1925. In the 1960’s researchers discovered that micro-organisms produce them from sugars, starches, cellulosic materials and vegetable oils and that the materials were part of the metabolism in plants, animals and humans providing energy and nutrition. A large variety of micro-organisms (Pseudomonas Putida, Ralstona Eutropha, a.o.) make different types of PHA materials comprising more than 150 different building blocks or monomers depending on the available nutrition in their environment. However, the molecular weight of these PHA materials occurring in nature is too low to use them for applications where petroleum plastics are used. During the last 20-30 years dozens of initiatives from all over the world have been started to make PHA materials useful for durable and structural applications as an alternative to the chemically synthesized polymers and by mimicking nature in a consistent way. A large variety of suitable micro-organisms are being used to convert many different feedstock sources, like gas, liquid or solid waste streams. After-use value chains are By: Jan Ravenstijn Founbding Member of GO!PHA Meersen, The Netherlands being created for several waste streams this way, resulting in a contribution to the circular economy. Today there are 9 different PHA material families, which all have different properties, so they can cover a broad range of applications for durable, structural and one-timeuse articles. PHA materials can substitute petroleum plastics for onetime-use applications that often by design or improper waste management end up in the environment (e.g. micro-beads in cosmetic products or drinking straws). Biodegradation of PHA materials in all environments (compost, soil, water) is comparable to or faster than cellulose (i.e. paper). PHA materials can partly substitute any of the traditional fossil-based polymer families, so the accessible market for PHA materials is very large. Depending on type and grade, PHA materials can be used for injection molding, extrusion, thermoforming, foam, non-wovens, fibers, 3Dprinting, paper and fertilizer coating, glues, adhesives, as additive for reinforcement or plasticization or as building block for thermosets in paints and foams. Also, their use in medical applications like sutures and wound closures is already commercial, since the material is bioresorbable. GO!PHA, the Global Organization for PHA is a member-driven, non-profit initiative to accelerate the development, commercialization and adoption of the PHA polymers across industries and product segments globally. GO!PHA provides a platform for advocacy in policy and legislation, technical and scientific knowledge development, market development and proliferation and communication and to facilitate joint development initiatives on matters of common interest. GO!PHA is co-organizing the new 4th day of the Bioplastics Business Breakfast at K’2019 on October 20 th , 2019 ( Magnetic for Plastics • International Trade in Raw Materials, Machinery & Products Free of Charge. • Daily News from the Industrial Sector and the Plastics Markets. • Current Market Prices for Plastics. • Buyer’s Guide for Plastics & Additives, Machinery & Equipment, Subcontractors and Services. • Job Market for Specialists and Executive Staff in the Plastics Industry. Up-to-date • Fast • Professional bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14 23

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