Browse the SEED libraryFeature your projectWhy Join?Join SEED todaySign in to SEEDSee list of SEED members
Plant biomass potential
Left Control
Right Control
Calendar

Plant biomass potential

Creating the technology and resource base for the next generation of bio-based fuels, chemicals and materials.
Suggested project
SSUCHY utilises plant fibres to create transport components
From lignocellulosic feedstock to biocomposites
News from this sector
Bio-economy commercialisation the focus as global leaders confirm for World Bio Markets 2019
15/01/2019

The best partnerships come from an alliance of diverse perspectives and skillsets. For the bio-based economy to achieve the success that we all believe it can, a new cohesive approach is required to unite the industry and make it more efficient and commercially focused.
US-based researchers develop lignin-nylon material to help with 3D printing process
15/01/2019

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists have created a new composite material to be used for 3D printing that makes use of lignin - a biorefinery by-product.
Bio-economy commercialisation the focus as global leaders confirm for World Bio Markets 2019 (15/01/2019)
The best partnerships come from an alliance of diverse perspectives and skillsets. For the bio-based economy to achieve the success that we all believe it can, a new cohesive approach is required to unite the industry and make it more efficient and commercially focused.
"…a fantastic opportunity to meet the leaders of the bio-economy, collaborate in finding new solutions and learn from those on the cutting edge of innovation."

The best partnerships come from an alliance of diverse perspectives and skillsets. For the bio-based economy to achieve the success that we all believe it can, a new cohesive approach is required to unite the industry and make it more efficient and commercially focused. Chemical and material producers, technical experts and consumer facing brands must stop operating in silos, and instead truly engage with each other as they work towards the same goal - commercial successfully sustainable products.

In the past few years, we have seen a growing shift in the global bio-based chemicals market, as brands take action to steer their supply chains away from traditional petro-chemical base, and those who have already made the change enjoy the benefits both in public perception and commercial performance. But much more should and can be done.

In Amsterdam on April 1st-3rd. World Bio Markets 2019, powered by Bio-Based World News, will bring together the whole bio-economy value chain, giving voice and offering connections to chemical producers, engineering experts, trusted advisers and some of the world's largest brands who are making changes to how their products are made.

The event program features thought provoking keynotes from both inside and outside the industry, lively onstage discussions between C-level executives, interactive roundtables, results orientated workshops as well as carefully crafted sessions; with case studies on some of the most innovative and successful verticals, extensive detail on technical processes and the path to commercialisation.

"I'm very much looking forward to the 2019 version of the World Bio Markets, where I share an update of the H&M group's activities on bio-based materials and products. WBM is a great networking space bringing together various actors from the value chain I also envision to make new contacts for future collaborations." Mattias Bodin, Sustainability Business Expert, Materials & Innovation, H&M.

Our re-energised exhibition will feature Bio-Stars - showcasing the most exciting start-ups in our industry, Brand Land - displaying the products of our attending brands and offering the opportunity for a more personal conversation with the people behind them, as well as enough meeting rooms to accommodate well over 500 crucial meetings, and of course stands and showcases from the leading bio-based companies from all over the world.

If that isn't enough, World Bio Markets, now in its 14th year, will also host the next edition of the Bio-Based World News Awards, a site visit organised by Port of Amsterdam, breakfast briefings, 10 hours of networking and two drinks receptions.

"We are all the time looking for inspiration and new opportunities to be a bigger part of the fast growing bio-economy, therefore I am especially looking forward to the World Bio Market 2019 event," - Alexander Rosenlew, CEO, Orthex.

"World Bio Markets 2019 is a fantastic opportunity to meet the leaders of the bio-economy, collaborate in finding new solutions and learn from those on the cutting edge of innovation." Rolf Hogan, Executive Director, Roundtable on Sustainable Biomaterials.

Source
US-based researchers develop lignin-nylon material to help with 3D printing process (15/01/2019)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists have created a new composite material to be used for 3D printing that makes use of lignin - a biorefinery by-product.
"Structural characteristics of lignin are critical to enhance 3D printability of the materials."

Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) scientists have created a new composite material to be used for 3D printing that makes use of lignin - a biorefinery by-product. According to Tennessee-based ORNL, this feedstock could spur a profitable new use of lignin.

The discovery was detailed in scientific journal, Science Advances. Lignin is the material left over from the processing of biomass. It gives plants rigidity and also makes biomass resistant to being broken down into useful products.

"Finding new uses for lignin can improve the economics of the entire biorefining process," said ORNL project lead Amit Naskar.

In a statement, ORNL scientists said that they combined a melt-stable hardwood lignin with conventional plastic, a low-melting nylon, and carbon fibre to create a composite with "just the right characteristics for extrusion" and weld strength between layers during the printing process, as well as "excellent mechanical properties."

The scientists said the process to form this composite was "tricky" because lignin "chars easily". To solve this problem, researchers said that they combined lignin with nylon and found that "temperature stiffness increased while its melt viscosity decreased".

According to the researchers, the lignin-nylon material had tensile strength similar to nylon alone and lower viscosity than conventional acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene.

They found that the combination of lignin and nylon "appeared to have almost a lubrication or plasticising effect on the composite," Naskar explained.

"Structure characteristics of lignin are critical to enhance 3D printability of the materials," said ORNL's Ngoc Nguyen who collaborated on the project.

Scientists were also able to mix in a higher percentage of lignin - 40% to 50% by weight - a new achievement in the quest for a lignin-based printing material. ORNL scientists then added 4 to 16% carbon fibre into the mix. The new composite heats up more easily, flows faster for speedier printing, and results in a stronger product.

"ORNL's world-class capabilities in materials characterisation and synthesis are essential to the challenge of transforming by-products like lignin into coproducts, generating potential new revenue streams for industry and creating novel renewable composites for advanced manufacturing," said Moe Khaleel, associate laboratory director for Energy and Environmental Sciences.

The lignin-nylon composite is patent-pending and work is ongoing to refine the material and find other ways to process it. The ORNL research team also included Sietske Barnes, Christopher Bowland, Kelly Meek, Kenneth Littrell and Jong Keum. The research was funded by the US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office.

Source
Getting a green buzz from alternative plastic wrap (03/01/2019)
An alternative solution to plastic cling films is creating a buzz in Australian and UK circles - Bee Green Wraps.
"It's quite a simple concept and has a potential exciting future."

With the rise of people choosing to pass on plastic, the range of more sustainable disposable items has increased. Food wrap choices have long focused on petroleum-based options, but consumers are turning to other bio-based options. When people choose to cover their packed-lunch sandwiches or leftover food, they tend to use plastic cling film. Though many film plastics are recyclable, cling wrap is not. However, a new alternative solution to plastic cling films is creating a buzz in Australian and UK circles. It is called Bee Green Wraps.

Bee Green Wraps were created in Australia by eco farmer Katherine Stedman and made from Australian beeswax, but they have recently launched in the UK. They cover food containers by adjusting to the desired shape using the heat of hands. The fabric lets air through while preserving food from moisture, allowing for good storage, whether in open air or in the refrigerator. They also come in a multitude of patterns in six different style options.

Already successful in Australia, Bee Green Wrap is hoping to emulate the same success in the UK. Speaking to Bio-Based World News, UK director Katie Tyndale says the desire to provide an alternative to plastic cling film was her primary aim in backing Bee Green Wraps and promoting them to the UK market.

She explains: "I am a mum of two boys and I was very conscious of the amount of plastic that we are using. For example, in packed lunches, I was always looking for opportunities to reduce our plastic footprint.

"I worked in the City of London for 20 years and left a couple of years ago. I was looking for an opportunity to start my own business and I came across these Bee Green Wraps. I initially discovered them when a friend returned from holiday in New Zealand and showed them to me. I thought they were a lovely project. It grew from there. I dediced to research who are the best providers of it and came across Bee Green Wraps in Australia."

Tyndale then spoke to Bee Green Wraps in Australia and agreed to partner with the company.

She adds: "There is a great ethos behind them. First, reducing plastic is key. They are also organic, 100 per cent natural and completely compostable. They are reusable for up to a year."

As more research on the impact of using so much plastic comes to light, consumers and manufacturers are left scrambling for an alternative to the fossil fuel-based material. This has derived for sustainable alternatives to plastic.

"We have been going for five months now, and we are getting a lot of interest which is great. For instance, supermarket Sainsbury's has contacted us recently and National Geographic. We are getting a positive response to them."

Tyndale says that the positive reviews have exceeded her expectations. According to Tyndale, Bee Green Wraps are now only functional, but also "look great so people like having the product in their kitchens as an additional accessory".

She concludes: "It's quite a simple concept and has a potential exciting future. It's a matter of getting it out there and making people know that we exist, and educating them on what impact they can have from using them."

Source
Corbion and Total launch 'second-largest PLA bio-plastics plant in the world' in Thailand (03/01/2019)
The bio-based sector is set to experience a boost after oil giant Total and Dutch biochemicals specialist Corbion recently announced that they have started operations at their new bio-plastics plant in Rayong, Thailand.
"Bio-plastics are a great complement to our more traditional petrochemicals products to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns."

The bio-based sector is set to experience a boost after oil giant Total and Dutch biochemicals specialist Corbion recently announced that they have started operations at their new bio-plastics plant in Rayong, Thailand. The facility, run by the joint venture named Total Corbion PLA, will be able to produce 75,000 tonnes of polylactic acid (PLA) per year.

The products will meet customers' needs in a wide range of markets, including packaging, consumer goods, 3D printing fibres, and the automotive industries, Total Corbion PLA said in a statement.

According to the joint venture, PLA is experiencing strong global demand. PLA products can be mechanically or chemically recycled, or in some cases composted and returned to the soil as fertiliser.

Total Corbion PLA will leverage on the integration with its lactide plant, the monomer required for the production of PLA, that has simultaneously been expanded to 100,000 tonnes per year production capacity. In addition to this, the company's 1,000 tonnes per year PLA pilot plant, which has been operational since the end of 2017, is located on the same site and will be used for product development.

"The start-up of this state-of-the-art plant establishes Total Corbion PLA as a world-scale PLA bio-plastic producer, ideally located to serve growing markets from Asia Pacific to Europe and the Americas," said Stephane Dion, CEO of the joint venture.

She added: "The subsequent increase in global PLA capacity will enable manufacturers and brand owners to move into the circular economy and produce bio-based products with lower carbon footprints and multiple end of life options."

"I'm very pleased that the joint venture has started-up the second-largest PLA bio-plastics in the world. This achievement is fully in line with our strategy, to expand in petrochemicals and, at the same time, innovate in low-carbon solutions. Bio-plastics are a great complement to our more traditional petrochemicals products to meet the rising demand for polymers while contributing towards reducing end-of-life concerns," added Bernard Pinatel, President Refining & Chemicals at Total.

"This is good news for consumers and producers who want to make a conscious choice to improve their carbon footprint and make their contribution to a circular economy. A world of innovation and business opportunities has opened up while contributing to a better world," explained Tjerk de Ruiter, CEO at Corbion.

Source
Raising the youth's awareness on the bioeconomy: the Think Biobased Challenge (04/12/2018)
It should be one of our primary goals for the children of the future to raise their awareness on the opportunities the bioeconomy can provide.
We cannot transition successfully to a bioeconomy-oriented world relying on the educational materials we have at this moment.

To engage with young people and raise their interest in the bioeconomy, the BioCanDo project has launched the "Think Biobased Challenge". This initiative will encourage the development of learning tools that draw students' attention to learn more about the biobased economy.

The competition is open to all college and university students willing to take the challenge and design educational materials catered to primary and secondary school students. These teaching materials have to be readily used and must be produced in English (and in the participant's local language if he/she is a non-native English speaker.)

The competition is open until 1 February 2019.

A panel of bioeconomy experts will reward the most creative and innovative teaching modules with a money prize of 3,000 for each educational grade level (i.e. the top three entries will get a money price within respectively primary, secondary and vocational training grade).

No limitations, no constraints: it's all about being creative and getting youngsters to "think bio-based"!

For more information and to submit materials, visit https://www.coebbe.nl/wat-is-biobased/biobased-challenge/

Source
Biodegradability: Facts or Myth (04/12/2018)
AllThings.Bio is aiming to clear up some of the most popular errors about the biodegradability of bio-based plastics
1. All bio-based plastics are biodegradable - It's a myth
Bio-based plastics can be either biodegradable or non-biodegradable (durable).
Bio-PET, also known as bio-sourced PET, is a non-biodegradable bio-based plastic that has been around for some years. Bio-PET can replace fossil-based PET in a range of applications. An example is the "Plant Bottle", a fully recyclable plastic bottle that is made partially from plants. Some bio-based materials, including Bio-PET, are chemically identical to fossil-based ones, so they carry the same properties. They are also called drop-in solutions.

PLA, short for poly lactic acid, is a biodegradable bio-based plastic. It is used for a range of applications, including mulch films, tea bags, drinking cups, and in 3D printing. PLA is transparent and approved for food contact applications and therefore very suitable for food packaging.

PHA, short for poly hydroxyl alkanoates, are polyesters, a kind of polymers, produced in nature by numerous microorganisms, including through bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids. They are also biodegradable and offer the potential to create bio-based plastics with novel properties.

2. If a product is biodegradable, I can throw it into the environment and it will disappear - It's a myth
Even though a product might be claimed as biodegradable or compostable doesn't mean you can just throw it into the environment. The right treatment of a product at its end of life is very important. Biodegradability does not automatically mean that a product will degrade in any environment. In most cases industrial composting with specific conditions is needed to ensure biodegradation within a reasonable period.

European standards require that in industrial composting facilities materials need to biodegrade within six months, but in open environments, it will take much longer. And if you wait for hundreds of years, even "durable" goods will start to degrade. Besides, biodegradable plastics are no solution to littering, and can be a sore to the eye. Apply reusable products and materials whenever possible.

3. If a product is biodegradable, I can easily compost it at home - It's a myth
Compostable means that material is certified according to the European standards EN 13432 (packaging) and EN 14995 (products) and is composted in industrial plants. In most cases biodegradable plastics will only degrade in industrial composting plants under specific conditions, because compostability or biodegradability does not automatically mean that a product will degrade in any environment. Degradation is dependent on factors such as temperature, time, humidity and the presence of bacteria and fungi in the specific environment. These factors can be controlled only in industrial composting plants.

Nevertheless some products might be suitable for home composting. Even though a European standard for home composting does not yet exist, there are a few standards on national level already in place. Two examples for home composting labels are:

Composting of bio-based plastics only makes sense for specific applications where recycling is too difficult, for instance, because the packaging is highly contaminated with organic residues. An example where composting makes sense is the use of tea bags. To seal tea bags, most tea bags consist of 20-30% of the fossil plastic PP (polypropylene). These tea bags often end up in the composting bin, although they are not compostable. By replacing the PP with PLA the tea bag becomes fully industrially compostable.

4. Industrial composting plants happily accept compostable plastics - It's a myth
There is currently a debate under waste management companies and manufacturers as to whether compostable bio-based plastic is suitable for composting in industrial plants. Some compostersargue that in practice, the residence time of green waste in today's composting plants is considerably shorter than the residence time assumed in European composting standards.

As a result the process is too short for some bio-based plastic to biodegrade fully. The remains of bio-based plastic and fossil-based plastic look very similar. Both are removed as contaminants and thermally recycled (incinerated) after collection. Other composters, such as the Austrian compost and biogas association, advocate that all single use plastic bags found in supermarkets should be compostable bags to facilitate the collection of bio waste.

Manufacturers also argue that compostable waste bags, for example, can be composted within the regular turnaround times, as the materials are much thinner than the values set out in the European composting standard.

5. Bio-based plastics, no matter if they are biodegradable or not, could be recycled - It's a fact
Theoretically, all bio-based plastics can be recycled. Recycling means reprocessing a used material into a new product. Our daily products are made of different kinds of fossil and bio-based plastics which can be separated through various mechanical processes (sorting) in recycling plants. The separated plastics can be reused for new products after processing (remelting or granulation). Bio-based "drop-in plastics" such as "Bio-PE" or "Bio-PET" are chemically identical to their fossil based versions Polyethylene (PE) and Polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

Therefore they can be perfectly integrated in established recycling streams. Other bio-based plastics need to be recycled in separate streams for each material type, because the purity of recyclate streams is important. But right now volumes of other bio-based plastics are not large enough to have the recycling done economically even though it would be technically possible. This might change when volumes increase.

Until then bio-based plastics which are not drop-ins will normally go to waste incineration plants which allows at least the recovery of energy. In comparison to fossil based plastics, the CO2 from incinerated bio-based plastics was recently captured and will be captured again when new bio-based products will be produced. CO2 from fossil based plastics was captured a long time ago and therefore contributes to an increase of greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere.

Source
Close
Footer