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Issue 3/2018

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  • Bioplastics
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  • Biobased
  • Materials
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  • Packaging
  • Renewable
  • Castor
  • Injection
  • Compostable
bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1803

From Science & Research

From Science & Research The French project PolyOil2Industry aimed at the development of a new biobased polymer based on renewable polyol intermediates. This 4 year research project has recently been completed. It was an inspiring collaboration between several French industrial partners which finally resulted in new renewable building blocks. These green polyols needed to answer the current demand of the different markets with new technical performance. Three main areas of applications were targeted in the project: building, packaging and cosmetics with the respective companies Soprema, Vegeplast and Polymerexpert. The project partner ITERG as well as LCPO (the joint research unit of the University of Bordeaux, CNRS and Bordeaux National Polytechnic Institute) have first developed the building blocks and prepolymers on laboratory scale, answering the specifications for each of the targeted applications. Of the most promising building blocks, ITERG scaled up the different protocols. The biobased 1,3-propanediol developed by Metabolic Explorer made it possible to synthesize 100% renewably sourced polyols. Oleon, also project leader, was in charge of the further upscaling to the final production on an industrial scale of the selected molecules after the technical screening in the different applications. Along with the project, the different partners have been supplied with several building blocks obtained from vegetable triglycerides (from high oleic sunflower oil to castor oil) for an extensive evaluation of the performance in the applications. One molecule per applications has been selected, namely, a polyester polyol derived from ricinoleic acid for use in insulating foam (building), a diol prepolymer as a precursor for gelling of an oil phase for cosmetic application and a polymer additive as impact modifier for poly-L-lactide (PLA) for packaging. At this stage, tests in real production conditions are still necessary in the case of insulating foams for construction, but the results so far are promissing. For the other applications, commercial development perspectives are quite achievable. The invention of the gelling agent has been secured by a patent and commercialisation is started. With respect to the polymer additive for packaging, a wide range of polyricinoleates have been tested in PLAblends. Toughness of the blends has been significantly improved, elongation at break reached values of 100%, with no decrease of the tensile maximum strength as shown in Fig. 1. The PLA impact resistance has been doubled thanks to the addition of 3 %wt of the polyricinoleate additive. This mayor improvement of the properties offers the possibility to inject new flexible and impact-resistant bioinspired packagings (tray, tops) based on PLA. The results of the project is therefore very satisfactory. Molecules from vegetable lipid resources can be just as powerful as petrochemical molecules. They give access to new performances and this thanks to environmentally friendly processes. Breaking barrier for clean & green BioPolyols Fig. 1: PLA-polymer dumbbell-shaped specimen after tensile testing, v = 5mm/min (top specimen: before testing, middle: PLA without polyricinoleate, bottom: PLA with 3% polyricinoleate) Fig.: 2: Examples of PLA packaging materials with polyricinoleate additive as impact modifier: www.oleon.com | www.iterg.com | www.lcpo.fr | www.soprema.fr | www.vegeplast.com | www.polymerexpert.fr | www.metabolic-explorer.com 30 bioplastics MAGAZINE [03/18] Vol. 13

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