The Bio-Board consortium at the kick off meeting in the Mediterranean Park of Technology (UPC), in Castelldefels (Barcelona)
About 7 million tons of coated paper, paperboard and cardboard are currently manufactured annually worldwide. The standard coating material currently used is petrochemical based polyethylene (PE). Increased political, legislative and consumer pressure to reduce the dependency on fossil fuel based plastics, but also to produce recyclable solutions, poses a major challenge for packaging producers to seek alternative materials that do not harm the environment in their manufacture and end of life, are based on a sustainable resource, and offer similar performance to their conventional plastic counterparts.
To this end, the BIO-BOARD EU - funded project kicked off on November 8, 2012 in Barcelona for the development of a tailored coating system based on the renewable raw material derived from agro food waste. BIO - BOARD will produce packaging materials from the extrusion of coating paper, paperboard and cardboard. The base material for the coating will be innovative formulations based on proteins such as whey and residues from potato. Indeed, as a by - product coming from cheese production, still 40-50% of the 50 million tons of whey produced annually in Europe is discarded, while about 65,000 tons of dried fruit juice protein and 140,000 tons of dried potato pulp produced annually within the EU could be available for new valorizations.
BIO - BOARD will build on past research that has revealed that whey protein coating can provide bio - degradable plastic layers that can replace existing plastic coatings in multilayer packaging and enhance their recyclability – by separating the individual fractions of the multilayer packaging.
IRIS, a Barcelona - based company dedicated to advanced engineering and R&D solutions, will coordinate the international project, whereby 13 other companies and research centers from 10 different European countries will also participate: Lleters de Catalunya Llet Nostra (Spain), University of Pisa and Lucense (Italy), Slovenian Plastechnics Cluster and TUBA (Slovenia), Fraunhofer - Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung and Meierei - Genossens eG (Germany), Tetrapak (Sweden), Gascogne Laminates (France), Food Machinery Company (UK), Food Industry Association of Austria and the Union of Dairy, Beef, Food Industrialists and Producers of Turkey.
Towards the end of the project, Lleters de Catalunya looks forward to testing the bricks derived from the BIO - BOARD packaging materials and made at TetraPak, including the new coating derived from their whey by - product. As for the role of the three research performers, FRAUNHOFER IVV will develop the coating formulation, and process the coated paper and board at lab and pilot scale. The University of Pisa will characterize the material’s convertibility and environmental aspects. Finally IRIS besides coordinating the project will test material’s suitability as food packaging and support the up scaling of the technology to allow its validation with the industrial partners.
The BIO - BOARD consortium came together in Barcelona for the kick off meeting. IRIS hosted the two-day event (November 8 – 9, 2012), which included a visit to the recycling plant of Stora Enso’s Barcelona mill in Spain, located in Castellbisbal, about 20 km northwest of the city of Barcelona. Stora Enso participated to the “Project CLEAN“, which develops a solution for the plastic - aluminium layers in the beverage cartons.
The consortium of the BIO - BOARD covers the whole supply and value chain for the new packaging solution and features 6 associations, 3 SMEs and 2 large companies. The three - year project will result in a more competitive European packaging sector.
The project coordinator Dr. Elodie Bugnicourt is the Eco materials leader of the R&D company based in the Mediterranean Technology Park of Castelldefels (Barcelona). Dr. Bugnicourt highlights that “BIO - BOARD stands a response to the current demand from producers of coated paper, paperboard and cardboard manufacturers for a bio -based material that will enable them to substitute much of the currently used PE coating without compromising the barrier properties of the resulting packaging materials and facilitate the recycling of such packaging.
BIO - BOARD is based on a holistic integrated environmental approach to increase the sustainability of materials and processes throughout their life cycle promoted in many projects at IRIS. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) managed by REA Research Executive Agency under grant agreement n°315313.
Learn more about BIO – BOARD: www.bioboard.eu