Bioplastics to be the centre of new €4m European project

Bioplastic from Italian company Bio-on spearheads development of the food packaging of tomorrow

The bioplastic developed by Bio-on will be at the centre of a new European project that, with a budget of almost €4m, aims to create new sustainable and biodegradable food packaging materials in the coming years.

The research and development project will focus on PHAs biopolymers (polyhydroxyalkanoates) produced using Bio-on technology.

This technology features high thermo-mechanical and rheological performance as well as ductility.

The project, BioBarr features new bio-based food packaging materials with enhanced barrier properties.

Involved parties

BioBarr, which received an excellent evaluation from independent science experts at the European Commission, will be coordinated by Tecnoalimenti.

Tecnoalimenti is a Scientific and Technological Research Organism that inspires, coordinates and creates research and innovation projects of industrial interest to the agri-food sector.

“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,” said Raffaello Prugger, CEO of Tecnoalimenti.

During its estimated four-year duration, the project will involve seven European from Italy, Spain, Denmark and Finland.

It has received funding from the Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Research objectives:

  • to develop new bio-based and biodegradable food packaging materials;
  • to improve and strengthen their barrier functionalities;
  • to validate their application in real working environments inside the food industry.

Bio-on's involvement

Bio-on is the project's main scientific partner. The Italian company operates in the bioplastic sector, conducting applied research and development of modern bio-fermentation technologies in the field of eco-sustainable and completely naturally biodegradable materials.

Bio-on will make use of a European contribution of €800,000 to carry out the production, development and demonstration of PHAs film to be adapted to the project's objectives.

The company will also work on setting up a complete study of the product lifecycle according to modern LCA principles.

Bio-on Chair and CEO, Marco Astorri, said: “This 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.”

Plastics

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.

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