23 Feb 2018

The future of the bioeconomy

The Bio-based Industries Consortium (BIC) General Assembly came together to discuss the future of bio-based industries in Europe.

With 56 new members offering fresh new ideas, the BIC saw participants discuss the further development of Europe’s competitive bioeconomy by bringing forward new technological developments and creating market pull for bio-based products and applications.

BIC Executive Director, Dirk Carrez, said, “BIC continues to be an important bio-based platform, bringing together different sectors and entire value chains to collaborate on the bioeconomy. New members…help us further develop innovative bio-based value chains and contribute to Europe’s circular and low carbon economy objectives.”

The meeting also discussed the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU) participation with representatives of BBI JU Coordination and Support Actions (CSAs) addressing non-technological aspects of the bioeconomy such as market uptake, road mapping and standardisation to support further developments in the sector.

“BBI JU continues to have a strong impact, mobilising relevant stakeholders ranging from SMEs to large companies and resource and technology providers to brand owners,” said Carrez.

Other topics discussed included BIC’s recent study which outlines a range of funding opportunities for EU bio-based projects in the new European bioeconomy strategy that aims to increase awareness of different EU financial instruments and demonstrate how they can be used and combined to improve future participation in the bio-based industry.

More information can be found on the BIC website.

14 Feb 2018

Stora Enso launches bio-based lignin as renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials

Lignin is one of the main building blocks of a tree and makes up 20-30% of the composition of wood. Yet it has traditionally been discarded by the pulp and paper industries.

However, Stora Enso, a leading global provider of renewable solutions in packaging, biomaterials, wooden constructions and paper, has recognised the potential of this versatile raw material, which can be used in a range of applications where fossil-based materials are currently used.

The launch of Lineo by Stora Enso is another important step on the way to replacing fossil-based materials with renewable solutions. Lineo is available to companies seeking more sustainable, bio-based alternatives.

Lignin is a renewable replacement for oil-based phenolic materials which are used in resins for plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), laminated veneer lumber (LVL), paper lamination and insulation material.

Markus Mannström, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Biomaterials division, says, "Having increased our lignin focus in recent years, we're delighted to launch LineoTM. Lignin is a non-toxic raw material with traceable origin and stable cost structure, and bio-based Lineo is ideal for companies looking for alternatives to oil-based products. We believe that everything made from fossil-based materials today, can be made from a tree tomorrow."

Stora Enso has been producing lignin at industrial scale since 2015 at its Sunila Mill in Finland. The mill's capacity is 50 000 tonnes per year, making Stora Enso the largest Kraft lignin producer in the world. Stora Enso is already selling Lineo to replace phenol, and the company is also looking at many other applications for this very versatile material.

A stable, free-flowing brown powder, Stora Enso's lignin is separated during the Kraft pulping process of Nordic softwood. Lineo has a high dry content, superior dispersibility and long storage time. With a higher reactivity and purity, Lineo is consistent from batch to batch and Stora Enso can supply different levels of dryness, according to customer demand.


(This article was originally published by European Bioplastics: www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/news/meldungen/20181202-StoraEnso-develops-bio-based-lignin-as-renewable-replacement-for-oil-based-phenolic-materials.php)

06 Feb 2018

New start-up awarded grant to develop lignin-based mulch films

A young start-up, Tennessee-based Grow Bioplastics, has been awarded a National Science Foundation Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 to conduct research and development work on lignin-biomass based biodegradable plastics for agricultural applications, specifically plastic mulches.

The company's biodegradable product offers an alternative to plastic mulch films used by farmers around the world. Current non-degradable plastics must be removed at the end of each growing season and are often sent to a landfill, because they are difficult to recycle. Grow Bioplastics' biodegradable film can be plowed into the soil after each use, offering a solution to the additional labor costs and environmental impact of current films.

Founded in 2016 by University of Tennessee Knoxville graduate students Tony Bova and Jeff Beegle, Grow Bioplastics is creating a technology platform for lignin-based, naturally degradable and compostable plastics that serve as drop-in replacements for petroleum-based resins. Lignin is the second most abundant natural biopolymer in the world and primary waste product of biorefineries and paper mills. The new lignin-based plastics can then be plowed into the soil after use, allowing them to be used as replacements for petroleum-based plastics that are not biodegradable and difficult to recycle.

"The National Science Foundation supports small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts," said Barry Johnson, director of the NSF's Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships. "We hope that this seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology."

"Being selected for this competitive award from the NSF is a huge step for our company," said Tony Bova, CEO and co-Founder of Grow Bioplastics. "We are very excited to announce two partnerships on this grant. The first with Glucan Biorenewables, LLC to use their novel gamma-valerolactone derived lignin streams, and the second with Dr. David Harper, associate professor at the University of Tennessee Center for Renewable Carbon, to help us evaluate the processability of our materials."

He added: "This funding will help us validate the fundamental science behind our lignin-based plastic technology, allow us to hire our first employees here in East Tennessee, and bring us one step closer to realizing our vision for a socially and environmentally driven business model to support a circular economy."

The company's first products will be plastic pellets that can be processed into blown or cast plastic mulch films and thermoformed or injection moulded trays and pots for agricultural and horticultural applications. Bova and Beegle anticipate first commercial sales of their products to begin in 2019.

(Source: www.bioplasticsmagazine.com/en/news/meldungen/20180131-New-start-up-awarded-grant-to-develop-lignin-based-mulch-films.php)

01 Feb 2018

Europe to ramp up funding for bio-based plastics

The European Commission will increase the funding for research and development of innovative bio-based plastics and to further improve plastic recycling.

During the press conference on the European Strategy on Plastics earlier this month, the Commission’s Vice-President Jyrki Katainen said, “We are also ready to finance or increase financing for new innovations in recyclability and new oil-free raw materials. Horizon 2020 has already allocated 250 million Euros for this kind of innovative work, and we have decided to increase the ceiling with additional 100 million by 2020.“

This is an important signal for the bioplastics industry in Europe, which is needed to drive continued change in the plastics industry towards an innovative, sustainable, and resource-efficient economy.

In the Communication of the Plastics Strategy, the Commission highlights that, “Alternative types of feedstock (e.g. bio-based plastics or plastics produced from carbon dioxide or methane), offering the same functionalities of traditional plastics with potentially lower environmental impacts […] at the moment represent a very small share of the market. Increasing the uptake of alternatives that according to solid evidence are more sustainable can also help decrease our dependency on fossil fuels.”

The Commission’s commitment to supporting the development and scaling up of alternative bio-based feedstocks for plastics is crucial for a still young industry that offers substantial opportunities for innovation, jobs, and at the same time supporting the EU’s transition to a circular economy.

(This article was originally published by European Bioplastics: http://www.european-bioplastics.org/europe-to-ramp-up-funding-for-bio-based-plastics/)