Innovative materials announced for 2017 bio-based award
Six materials, including a bioplastic composite paper, a wetsuit made from natural rubber, and packaging and disposable tableware made from up-cycled agricultural residuals have been announced as the finalists for the nova-Institute’s ‘Bio-Based Material of the Year 2017’ award.
The competition rewards innovation and development in the bio-based material industry, focusing on applications and their corresponding markets that have had, or will have, a market launch in 2016 or 2017.
18 products were submitted this year, with the six finalists hailing from Belgium, Finland, Germany and the United States.
Each company will have 10 minutes to give a presentation introducing their innovation at the International Conference on Bio-Based Materials in Cologne on 10-11 May, while the three winners will then be elected by the 250 participants of the conference and will receive an award sponsored by InfraServ GmbH Knapsack.
Last year’s winner was Orineo BVBA: Touch of NatureTM, who developed a range of biomaterials made from coffee grounds to be used in making floors, tabletops and furniture.
Bio-Lutions (Germany) – Bio-Lutions fibres
Bio-Lutions fibres use an innovative mechanical process that breaks down residual agricultural waste and converts it into Nano self-binding natural fibres, banishing the energy-intensive process of cellulose extraction to the past.
The resulting material is then used to create recyclable packaging and tableware which, when no longer needed, decompose under normal conditions, can be used in biogas production, or can be recycled or burned with a minimal carbon footprint.
Cooper Tires (US) – Guayule polymer-polyisoprene
Cooper Tires have created a the first ever concept tire where all the natural and synthetic rubber used in the tire has been replaced with rubber from the guayule plant, a shrub that grows in Southwestern US.
It is seen as a possible sustainable alternative to Hevea rubber, supplies of which could be greatly reduced in the future and are already subject to massive price fluctuations.
Hexpol TPE (Belgium) – Dryflex Green
Dryflex Green is an innovative thermoplastic elastomer (TPE) compound made from renewable materials such as plant and vegetable crops, with a renewable content of over 90 per cent and a range of hardnesses.
Crops used in this industrial process can be grown in poor soil, thus avoiding the displacement of food crops and safeguarding biodiversity. Dryflex Green compounds could have a range of sustainable uses in the consumer, automotive, packaging, medical and construction markets.
Paptic (Finland) - PAPTIC
PAPTIC is a bio-based, recyclable and reusable material combining the beneficial elements of paper, plastics and textiles. Using a novel wood fibre to create a bioplastic composite paper, PAPTIC is 80 per cent bio-based, 80 per cent biodegradable, twice as durable as normal paper and 30 per cent lighter.
It is created using foam forming technology which uses 30 per cent less energy than traditional papermaking. PAPTIC’s first application has been in the creation of carrier bags, launched in 2016, helping to tackle the issue of waste plastic and contributing to the EU target of reducing plastic bag use by 55 per cent by 2019.
Patagonia (US) – Yulex R3 wetsuit
The Yulex R3 westsuit developed by Patagonia is based on natural rubbers and has eliminated the use of the non-renewable and energy-intensive polymer neoprene in the manufacturing process. Following eight years of pioneering the use of natural rubbers and sharing research and development with the surf and wetsuit industry, Patagonia released the Yulex R3 in 2016, the world’s first neoprene-free wetsuit.
The wetsuit’s material is sourced from FSC® certified Hevea rubber, while ambient rainfall and recycled water are used in the manufacturing process, which now produces 80 per cent less CO2 emissions.
Phytowelt GreenTechnologies (Germany) – (R)-alpha-Ionone
Phytowelt have produced a raspberry fragrance which only contains the enantiomer (R)-alpha-Ionone, giving the fragrance and intensive and natural flavour, and does not included the distomer (S)-alpha-Ionone, which produces a woody, musty and impure flavour.
It is complex and expensive to separate enantiomers and distomers so Phytowelt’s patented process only produces the enantiomer, resulting in the raspberry fragrance being the first natural product which can be produced in high quantity and high quality.
More information about the ‘Bio-Based Material of the Year’ award and the candidates can be found on the nova-Institute’s website.