While bio-plastic product alternatives have been around for over 20 years now, some of these bio-plastics have not yet delivered on the promise of retaining the same packaging qualities as their traditional plastic formulations, while also being capable of biodegrading without a harmful footprint. Many of the more widely used bioplastic solutions derive from renewable biomass or waste materials. However, a new collaboration could change this and become the first plant in UK to produce bioplastic from biodiesel’s co-product Glycerol. Italy’s Bio-on and UK based Greenergy have signed an agreement to begin this technical collaboration to look at the possibility of producing PHAs bioplastic from Glycerol on an industrial scale. The business movement has been recognised as an important milestone for creating a global platform for bioplastic production in the future.
Bio-on ( @BioOnBioplastic ) is an Italian based company which operates in the bioplastic sector. They licence and produce bioplastics PHAs from agricultural or agro industrial waste or by-product with an aim to create a process that is 100 percent natural and 100 percent biodegradable. Bio-on conduct research and development for modern bio-fermentation technologies in the field of eco-sustainabilty and natural biodegradable materials. By contrast, Greenergy is Europe’s largest manufacturer of biodiesel from waste with two production plants in the North East of England, and produces biofuel from waste streams from the food industry, such as used cooking oil.
The two companies will work together to establish the feasibility of building a 5,000 ton per year plant expandable to 10,000 tons per year. “This would be northern Europe's most advanced plant producing PHAs biopolymers from glycerol,” says Marco Astorri, Chairman and CEO of Bio-on.
The aim is to build northern Europe's first PHAs production plant from glycerol and this is likely to advantage Greenergy considering that the technology developed and patented by Bio-on is very flexible in terms of product variety and integrates well with sites producing biodiesel and managing the relative logistics.
“We are looking at the potential to integrate the Bio-on technology into our existing biodiesel processes and thereby add value to our existing activities,” explains Paul Bateson, Chief Operating Officer at Greenergy.
The revolutionary PHAs bioplastics (polyhydroxyalkanoates) developed by Bio-on are made from renewable plant sources with no competition with food supply chains. They guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as conventional plastics with the advantage of being 100 percent eco-sustainable and naturally biodegradable at ambient temperature.
“It will be very exciting to study the integration of the PHAs plant with the production processes at Greenergy, one of the most dynamic companies in the UK green sector”, concludes Astorri.
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