Innovative bio-based materials up for award

Six innovative bio-based products using materials including cellulose, soy beans and watermelon sugars are on the shortlist for the 2018 Bio-based Material of the Year award.

The innovation award, now in its 11th year, is organised by nova-Institute, an independent research and consultancy institute focusing on the bio- and CO2-based economy. The six materials that made the shortlist were chosen by a jury of Institute representatives, members of the advisory board, and sponsors and partners of the 11th International Conference on Bio-based Materials, which will be held 15-16 May in Cologne, Germany.

The award will be announced at the conference, where each of the six finalists will need to give a 10 minute presentation on their innovation before the audience chooses the top three winners. You can view the contenders below.

Innovative bio-based materials up for award
Biodegradable nets for green beans 

A study by food waste charity Feedback recently noted that the practice of chopping green beans to fit into plastic packaging resulted in 30-40 per cent of the beans being wasted. An alternative to the plastic packs has been developed by AIMPLAS, the Plastics Technology Centre in Spain, which has developed a material with similar properties to polythene nets but is more than 80 per cent bio-based, made through combining different biodegradable materials and sugars obtained from vegetable waste, specifically watermelon.

Durable and compostable PLA

From Finnish company Arctic Biomaterials Oy is a polylactic acid (PLA) – a type of bio-based polyester used for a wide range of plastic applications – which is reinforced with glass fibres to increase durability. The glass fibres can also be used with other bio-based polymers, making them suitable for more technically demanding uses while retaining compostability.

Cellulose additive

Exilva is the world’s first commercially available cellulose fibril, which can be used as a performance-enhancer (improving strength, stability, viscosity and more) in a wide range of products, including paint, cosmetics, adhesives, agricultural chemicals and concrete. The additive is made by Norwegian company Borregaard using 100 per cent natural raw materials sourced from Scandinavian forests.

Cashew-based blocking agent

Belgium-based Cardolite is advancing the use of cashew nutshell liquid technology, using a renewable, non-food chain resin extracted from the cashew nut or produced as a by-product of cashew nut processing. Cardolite has developed a blocking agent, NX-2026, from the liquid which has been introduced into the coating and adhesive market in replacement of petrochemical phenols, which form an important element of many chemicals, polymers and resins.

Rice husk thermoplastic

Rx 35 is a recyclable, biodegradable, partly bio-based sheet material made using rice husks, the hard protective coverings on grains of rice. Produced by shoe components company Rhenoflex in Germany, the material has a leather-like texture, can be heated up to 90 degrees celcius and is mainly used in crafting.

Soybean roof sealer

The Ohio Soybean Council and US company Roof Revivers has produced a bio-based sealer for asphalt-based roofing which the company claims will extend the life of the material by up to 15 years. Roof Maxx is a green chemical made using the oil from soybeans, which is nontoxic to the surrounding environment and aims to improve the roofing industry’s environmental footprint by extending product life, thus reducing production needs and landfill waste.

You can read more about the 2018 Bio-based Material of the Year Award on the International Conference on Bio-based Materials website.

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