Industry News

New Process to Obtain Economically-viable Bioplastic from Urban Biowaste

Published on 2020-01-30. Author : SpecialChem

TAGS:  Green and Bioplastics      Cost Efficiency    

Bioplastic-project The European project RES URBIS (Resources from Urban Bio-waste) is showing that different biowaste produced in an urban environment can be treated within the same chain of valorization. This new process can obtain products with biological origins, such as bioplastic, with a higher economic value to the classic compost and biogas . The RES URBIS project confirmed the technical and economic viability of this process.

An Efficient Process with Low Environmental Impact

The analysis of the life cycle of these bioplastics showed that the materials and energy used by PHA production through the presented biorefinery in the RES URBIS project have a lower environmental impact than the one generated by the plastic production with fossil origin.

The production of PHA is viable after a price of 3€/kg and even one less if considering the most favorable conditions of the process. This price, compared to the price of the current commercialized PHA obtained from specific cultures of cereals with a 4-5€/kg cost, shows the economic viability of the process.

The following step will be to get funding through the EU and the private sector to build a demonstration plant,” says Mata.

Generating Commercially Useable Bioplastic

The project produced a total of 30 kg of polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA), the basic polymer to create bioplastic with volatile fatty acids from waste decomposition. The PHA was obtained through three new extraction methods as part of the project and later processed by the industrial entities of the consortium to obtain commercial-use bioplastic.

The results of the project were very positive. We obtained film samples of bioplastic to use them as an interlayer with adjacent film, with a great commercial potential. These bioplastics can be used as long-lasting goods and bio composites with fibers produced with waste from parks and gardens”, says Joan Mata, professor from the department of chemical engineering and analytical chemistry, University of Barcelona.

Regarding commercialization of these bioplastics, the team has considered the European regulatory frame on the potential risks for health and environment of chemical products (REACH-CLP), and although there is still a lot to do on the definition of the final condition of the product known as waste final, “the scenario for the commercialization of the product is highly favourable”, notes Mata.

Source: University of Barcelona
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