The bioplastic developed by Bio-on, the Italian Intellectual Property Company based in Bologna, will be at the centre of a new European project that, thanks to a budget of almost 4 million Euro, aims to create new sustainable and biodegradable food packaging materials in the coming years.
The project BioBarr (New bio-based food packaging materials with enhanced barrier properties) has received funding of € 3.78 million from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and it will start on 1st June 2017.
BioBarr will be coordinated by Tecnoalimenti S.C.p.A., the Italian Knowledge Integrator that designs and develops specific co-operations between scientific research and business, over its estimated 4-year duration and will involve 7 prestigious European partners, public and private, from Italy, Spain, Denmark and Finland.
The researchers’ objects are as follows: to develop new bio-based and biodegradable food packaging materials, to improve and strengthen their barrier functionalities and to validate their application in real working environments inside the food industry. The ambitious research and development project will focus on PHAs biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) produced using Bio-on technology which, thanks to their high thermo-mechanical and rheological performance, ductility and aesthetic characteristics, are unmatched in the biopolymers market.
“We are extremely proud to take part in the BioBarr project, to be an active part in this varied team of complementary researchers and companies,” explains Bio-on Chairman and CEO Marco Astorri, “it will allow us to study and increase the potential of our bioplastic in the food packaging sector for new solutions in the wider consumer sectors.”
Bio-on, listed on the AIM segment of BorsaItaliana, is the project’s main scientific partner and will make use of a European contribution of Euro 800,000 to carry out the production, development and demonstration of PHAs film to be adapted to the project’s objectives. Bio-on will also work on setting up a complete study of the product lifecycle according to modern LCA principles.
The PHAs bioplastics developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains. They guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being 100% eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable at ambient temperature. This is why Bio-on’s PHAs bioplastics have been shown to have extremely high potential as a replacement for the conventional polymers currently used in food packaging. To increase its adoption in this market sector, the BioBarr Project will focus on the implementations of PHAs’ capacity to protect the food (barrier properties) through the validation of a series of food products with different shelf-lives.
“Food products generate a lot of waste plastic packaging. The idea behind this project is to meet the demands expressed by the food industry to offer the market food products with a long shelf-life combined with environmentally-friendly packaging solutions,” says Raffaello Prugger, CEO of Tecnoalimenti.
by Will Yi Huang