Bio-on S.p.A develops new bioplastics technology

Bio-on S.p.A, an Italian-based biotechnology company, has announced that it has completed a new phase in the development of the technology for making Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) from glycerol, and is now ready to licence the technology.

PHAs are a family of polymers that can be used to make bioplastics that are reputedly able to replace traditional hydrocarbon-based plastics made with petrochemical processes, and ‘match them in terms of performance, thermo-mechanical properties and versatility’.

Until now the company has produced PHAs using agricultural waste such as molasses, sugar cane and sugar beet syrups. The new technology facilitates the use of crude glycerol in the process, a waste product of biodiesel manufacture.

According to Bio-on S.p.A, over four million tonnes of glycerol is currently produced in Europe every year, a figure that is constantly rising, resulting in a slump its value.

The company claims that the new technology will enable the creation of new production facilities that will produce between 2,000 and 10,000 tonnes of PHAs from glycerol every year.

Speaking about the new technology, Bio-on S.p.A Chairman Marco Astorri said: "It is a great scientific and engineering achievement in the bioplastics world because it shows that it is possible to transform a new waste product such as glycerol into a raw material, expanding concepts such as biodegradability and eco-sustainability with innovative, advanced plastics. It's an important step in the affirmation of PHA in the latest-generation plastics market."

Find out more about Bio-on S.p.A