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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

Biocomposites

Biocomposites Biocomposites are a great alternat One of the drivers for the increased demand for alternatives to plastic is the EU plastics strategy. For the first time in the industry the awareness is created that something has to be changed about plastics. Consumers and industrial customers ask for materials and products with a lower environmental impact, reduced carbon footprint and last but not least a possibility to minimise the share of fossil-based plastics. The trend goes to renewable carbon. Biobased polymers and biocomposites can offer more sustainable materials with lower environmental footprint and reduced carbon footprint. Reduce or avoid microplastic emissions in the environment (if a biodegradable plastic matrix is used). Additionally, biocomposites can offer special properties such as higher stiffness and strength. In combination with biobased plastics, fully biobased and biodegradable solutions are possible. GreenPremium prices are possible along the value chain. The most important polymers used are: PE (decking & construction, consumer goods), PP (automotive, construction, consumer goods) and PVC (decking & construction) and with smaller amounts also ABS, Epoxies, PA, PMMA, PS, PU, TPE, TPS, TPU. Examples for biobased polymers are bio-PE, PLA, PBS, PHAs, bio-TPE, bio-PU and bio-Epoxies. Also, biobased PP will be soon available from Neste and LyondellBasell, produced in Germany. Biocomposites markets continue to grow The table shows the production volume in different application areas and the forecast for future markets. The biocomposite markets continue to grow, are stable in established markets like construction and automotive, and show strong growth in the more recently entered markets of consumer goods and packaging with new players providing opportunities in innovative applications. Biggest increase for traded biocomposite granulates for furniture, toys, consumer goods and cases are expected, primarily in injection moulding and 3D-printing. The nova institute predicts that the market volume of biocomposite granulates in Europe will more than double over the next ten years Biocomposites in the automotive sector The Biocomposites Conference Cologne (details see box) organizes a focus session on biocomposites in the automotive industry in cooperation with the AVK - Federation of Reinforced Plastics e.V. In the automotive sector, biocomposites are primarily used for saving weight in car interiors. Also a lower CO 2 footprint and good crash behaviour play a crucial role in the automotive industry. In this area the demand is ongoing and more or less stable (see table). Wood-Plastic Composites are mainly used for rear shelves, trims for trunks, spare wheels as well as for interior trims for doors. Natural Fibre Composites have a clear focus on interior trims for high-value doors and dashboards, that is processed either with thermoset or thermoplastic matrix. With the dominating press moulding technology and simultaneous back injection moulding (for special reinforcement), extreme light-weight materials can be realised with a thermoplastic matrix (mainly PP). By: Asta Partanen and Michael Carus nova-institut Hürth, Germany Another potential market, which was developed recently, are biocomposites for new electric car manufacturers. Small new car producers are not part of the established normal automotive value chain and they are looking for ecological light-weight materials with low carbon footprint. Press moulding is very suitable for small production volumes. New markets – Consumer goods, furniture, suit cases, toys and many more Toys are considered as an attractive market for biobased materials such as biocomposites as parents have a higher willingness to pay a GreenPremium price for healthy materials in toys. Biobased materials offer a range of possibilities for the product differentiation through pleasant touch or other haptic and optic features that make the difference to standard materials. Small and medium enterprises have been the pioneers in this field. BioLite from the company Trifilon (Nyköping, Sweden) is a polypropylene reinforced with 30 % hemp fibres. Hemp is one of the strongest natural fibres, which makes BioLite products strong, light and durable. The use of hemp fibres in BioLite optimises the material properties for many applications – the high-quality trolley case is just one example. The new material is suitable for lightweight automotive construction and consumer goods. EPIC Travelgear, a luggage manufacturer from Hovås, Sweden uses these granulates producing exclusive, sustainable luggage and they communicate with the carbon dioxide trapped by the hemp in EPIC’s new PhantomBIO cabin bags. Meanwhile big producers from the Finnish and Swedish wood industry such as UPM and Stora Enso are entering the polymerwood granulate markets, but also Panasonic in Japan: While UPM has been offering its wood fibre granulates in a variety of applications such as loudspeakers and high-quality woodplastic composites for decking throughout Europe for several years, Stora Enso has only been in this business since last year. With a capacity of 15,000 t for WPC granulates, StoraEnso is one of the largest from the start, when production of course only starts gradually. StoraEnso offers a variety of polymers such as fossil and recycled PP, but also biobased PE, PLA or PBS, each in combination with wood flour or different wood fibres. The new granulates from Stora Enso are already being used in kitchen accessories (of the Swedish /Finnish manufacturer of household products Orthex) and at IKEA in chairs. Finally, there is Panasonic, which has developed a mixture of PLA and cellulose to produce refrigerators, vacuum cleaners and other home appliances within a few years. High-Tech applications such as aerospace Amorim cork composites (from Mozelos Portugal) are by far one of the biggest volumes used in biocomposites and especially also in high tech applications such as aerospace. Launch systems that have used Amorim aerospace cork products 26 bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14

Biocomposites ive Plastics can be replaced by wood or natural fibres – with biocomposites include the Space Shuttle, Delta, Atlas, Titan, Arianne, and many other. To prevent the rocket from overheating aerospace cork composites provides thermal protection to these components as they are exposed to an air stream environment during launch. Rigid packaging with future potential In addition to more traditional application fields, quite a number of consumer and household goods as well as rigid packaging today already consist of biocomposites. Packaging is the leading application for biobased polymers. Biobased polymers do not differ optically from petro-based plastics. In combination with natural fibres, they offer excellent possibilities for Eco marketing, especially in biocosmetic cans or packaging for biobased detergents. Different fibres make different optics. Fibres can add accents and make the difference for the image of the product. FKUR from Willich, Germany for example offers Fibrolon ® granulates from wood bioplastic composites. Another example for rigid packaging are the compounds of Advanced Compounding from Rudolstadt, Germany that are used for Picea ® tubes. These are including 10 % spruce side streams from sawmills and 25 % post-industrial recycled plastic from tube laminating waste. This was presented recently from Hoffmann Neopac AG from Oberdiessbach, Switzerland. In total, the tube consists of 95.8 % renewable raw materials. The PICEA ® Wood Tube produces up to 38.9 % less CO 2 than conventional polyethylene tubes (PE) over its entire life cycle, as an analysis of the CO 2 footprint according to the ISO standard shows. The tubes are used in organic cosmetics and hair care products. www.bio-based.eu Biocomposites (Graph: nova-institute) PhantomBIO cabin bags are made of hemp fibre-based biocomposite material of Trifilon. (Photo: Trifilon) Kitchen Accessories (Photo: Orthex) Table: Biocomposites in Europe (Source: nova-institute) Biocomposites in Europe Decking, fencing and gladding, mainly extrusion Automotive, mainly compression moulding, high shares of natural fibres such as jute, kenaf and hemp Technical applications, furniture, consumer goods as well as rigid packaging, mainly injection moulding and 3D printing Production tonnes pa 2012 Production tonnes pa 2018 Production tonnes pa 2028 (forecast) 190,000 200,000 220,000-250,000 150,000 150,000 150,000 17,000 60,000 120,000-180,000 Total 357,000 410,000 490,000-580,000 Total figures include traded granulates for injection moulding and extrusion 40,000 100,000 200,000-300,000 The industry for biocomposites meets in Cologne The full range of successful new technologies and applications of biocomposites in the automotive industry and construction as well as in consumer products is the subject of the “Biocomposites Conference Cologne”. This will take place from 14-15 November 2019 in Cologne. The preliminary programme is available online at: www.biocompositescc.com/programme As in previous years, the “Biocomposite of the Year 2019” innovation prize will be awarded again this year. The focus will be on new developments that came onto the market in 2018/19 or will come onto the market in 2020. Current information on the Innovation Award can be found at: http://biocompositescc.com/award-application/ bioplastics MAGAZINE [04/19] Vol. 14 27

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