Aimplas, the Plastics Technological Institute, is working on the development of bioplastics for active cosmetic packaging, as well as absorbent beds for the pet industry, within the European BeonNAT project. These are just two of the innovative products that will be developed within the framework of this project, which promotes the creation of value chains for the use of trees and shrubs grown on marginal lands as a source of biomass for bio-based industries.
Aimplas will generate lactic acid and, from this, PLA, from fermentable sugars from biomass residues,
for application in cosmetic packaging with active properties.
The scope of the project ranges from the cultivation and harvesting of the selected species, to the extraction and purification of essential oils and plant extracts, papermaking, biochar, activated carbon, bioplastics for cosmetic packaging, lignocellulosic materials, new pet absorbents and cellulose pulp and agglomerates.
Specifically, Aimplas will produce PLA, from lactic acid that will have been obtained from fermentable sugars from plant biomass residues, for application as a bioplastic to obtain cosmetic packaging, to which essential oils with different active properties, such as antimicrobial, will be incorporated. To this end, the Institute is collaborating with Maverick Laboratories, for the production of the packaging, and with Idoasis, as a supplier of active substances in a value chain of which CIEMAT, ATB and IPB are part. In addition, in another of the lines, led by the Tolsa company, Aimplas is working on the production of silica capsules that incorporate essential oils with different functions, such as providing antimicrobial properties to improve bedding or absorbent sands for pets.
And one of the main objectives of this project is to generate innovative products, under strict ecological requirements and with an ideal chemical composition, from this underutilized biomass.
Additionally, the way to take advantage of marginal and disused lands is being studied, as well as the ability of selected species to thrive on such lands. To this end, the biochemical and ecological aptitudes of the harvested biomass and its potential as a raw material in industrial processes are analyzed. In order to optimize the yield of the crops, the distribution of the cultivation lands in mixed format is analyzed, with different provisions, for each of the countries that host such lands (Germany, Romania and Spain). Likewise, the best initial soil conditions, cultivation techniques and technologies and other factors affecting the quality and quantity of crops are investigated. In addition, during the post-harvest biomass treatment, the possibility of optimizing the refining and purification processes is analyzed.
A key aspect in the achievement of this project is the analysis of the processes involved: it will start working on a pilot scale while, at the same time, it will be studied how to carry out an industrial scaling that allows increasing productivity and reducing associated costs, all seeking maximum performance and prioritizing sustainability in all phases.
The consortium to carry out this project is composed of sixteen organizations, from seven countries. The Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research (Ciemat), belonging to the Ministry of Science and Innovation, coordinates the project in which, in addition to Aimplas, the Center for Forestry Services and Promotion Foundation and its Industry of Castilla y León, the Consorzio per la Ricerca e la Dimostrazione sulle Energie Rinnovabili, the Leibniz Institut fuer Agrartechnik und Bioekonomie, the Brandenburgische Technische Universitat Cottbus-Senftenberg, the University of the Universitatea Stefan cel Mare din Suceava, the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, Maverick Laboratories, Tolsa, Contactica, Idoasis 2002, El Jarpil, Envirohemp, NNFCC Limited and the Association for Spanish Forest Certification.
BeonNAT is funded by Bio Based Industries Joint Undertaking (JU) under grant agreement No. 887917. The JU receives support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme and the Bioindustry Consortium.