WHEYLAYER2 - Barrier biopolymers for sustainable packaging

A new sustainable packaging solution for food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries


The WHEYLAYER 2 project is the follow-on phase from the very successful WHEYLAYER project, that was funded  under the “Research for the benefit of SME associations” scheme of the FP7 programme and ended in 2011. It developed a biopolymer coating based on whey protein for plastic films able to replace currently used expensive synthetic oxygen barrier. The WHEYLAYER® - derived multilayer films material were easily recyclable, a Life Cycle Analysis showed significant reduction of their environmental impact versus standard packaging, and a preliminary evaluation showed that they fulfilled food safety regulations. A patent application was filled regarding the coating process and a WHEYLAYER prototype application machine was built that reached semi-industrial production speed while keeping satisfactory barrier properties.

The WHEYLAYER 2 project, that started in August 2012 with a two years funding by the European Commission (Grant Agreement no. 315743) within its Demonstration Activity scheme, will focus on up-scaling the promising results obtained in the WHEYLAYER project, to prove their industrialization potential and lead to their commercialization. WHEYLAYER 2 will focus on final packaging items such as films but also trays, blisters, tubes and cans and additional functionalities such as convertibility, printability, UV barrier. Since WHEYLAYER® exceeds the barrier properties of existing biopolymer and due to the pull for recyclable packaging, the market opportunities for WHEYLAYER® appear huge as a potential substitute for EVOH and PVDC.

The WHEYLAYER 2 project is coordinated by Lajovic Tuba embalaža, d.o.o. (Slovenia) which is supported technically by IRIS Research&Development (Spain) which originated the project idea, and by the Slovenian Plasttechnics Cluster (Slovenia) to ensure that the project results get widely disseminated. Other partners working in the project are Manufacturas Serviplast SA (Spain), MeiereiGenossens EG (Germany), Dunreidy Engineering (Ireland), ILIRIJA (Slovenia), NUTRARESEARCH SL (Spain), Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung (Germany) and the University of Pisa (Italy). After a successful completion of the WHEYLAYER 2 project, it is expected that the new offering of sustainable barrier biopolymers will fill the gap for environmentally friendly packaging materials for sensitive food as well as for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products to fulfill the demand of the increasing amount of green consumers around the world.

To learn more about the WHELAYER 2 project, please visit www.wheylayer.eu