Bio-on’s bioplastic is the starting point for a new European project that has been allotted a budget of almost 4 million Euro to work on creating new sustainable and biodegradable food packaging materials in the coming years.
Scheduled to kick off on 1 June 2017, the BioBarr project, short for ‘New bio-based food packaging materials with enhanced barrier properties’ has received funding of €. 3.784.375 from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. The project received an excellent evaluation from independent science experts at the European Commission and will run for an estimated 4 years.
Tecnoalimenti S.C.p.A. has been tasked with the coordination of the project, which will further involve 7 prestigious European partners, public and private, from Italy, Spain, Denmark and Finland.
The researchers' objects are as follows: to develop new biobased 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 PHA biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) produced using Bio-on’s 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," said 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 PHA bioplastics developed by Bio-on guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics, while offering the advantage of being 100% eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable at ambient temperature. This latter property is the reason they are considered to have extremely high potential as a replacement for the conventional polymers currently used in food packaging. To encourage adoption in this market sector, the BioBarr Project will focus on the barrier aspects of food packaging, exploring the capacities offered by PHA in this area through validation of a series of food products with different shelf-lives.
As Raffaello Prugger, CEO of Tecnoalimenti explained: "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."