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Solución ecológica de alto rendimiento para envasado de alimentos basada en bioplástico compostable

Resumen

Tipo:
Oferta Tecnológica
Referencia:
TOIT20161220001
Publicado:
06/01/2017
Caducidad:
06/01/2018
Resumen:
Un equipo de investigación de una universidad italiana ha desarrollado una tecnología de procesamiento para una formulación innovadora y de alto rendimiento de ácido poliláctico (PLA) compostable. En comparación con los biopolímeros actuales, este PLA ofrece mejores propiedades técnicas y sostenibilidad ambiental. El PLA se adapta fácilmente a la tecnología de procesamiento preexistente, como moldeo por extrusión, inyección y compresión. La tecnología está indicada para fabricar envases alimentarios con buenas propiedades de barrera y resistencia termomecánica. El equipo de investigación busca socios industriales para la producción a gran escala de productos de envasado basados en PLA.

Details

Tittle:
High performance eco-green solution for food packaging based on compostable bio-plastic.
Summary:
Research team from an Italian university has developed a processing technology for an innovative and high performance formulation of compostable poly lactic acid (PLA). In comparison with prevailing biopolymers, the proposed PLA offers enhanced technical properties and improved environmental sustainability. The proposed technology is suitable for food packaging. The research team is seeking industrial partners for developing a large-scale production of engineered PLA-based packaging products.
Description:
The Italian research team is active in the field of material science. Particularly, the research activities concern polymer technology and chemical process engineering.

The aim of the bio-based materials applied to the field of packaging is the reduction of the environmental impact while ensuring product competitiveness. Nevertheless, some drawbacks influence biopolymers during their production stages and subsequently affect biopolymers-based product life and end-life. For this reason, bio-plastics performance is rather low, making bio-plastics not completely suitable for functional packaging. In order to overcome this limitation, an engineering of compostable poly lactic acid (PLA) and related bio-plastics (e.g. Polybutylene succinate (PBS), polybutylene succinate adipate (PBSA), polycaprolactone (PCL)) formulations, are proposed.
The proposed PLA is easily adaptable to the preexisting processing technology, such as extrusion, injection and compression molding. In addition, the proposed PLA ensures high technical properties (e.g. high thermo-mechanical resistance and barrier properties), safety performance (e.g. absence of dangerous release) and environmental sustainability (e.g. total compostability).
For all these reasons, the proposed technology is an effective eco-green solution for food packaging. The proposed PLA can be used as substitute of other prevailing packaging systems (e.g. polyethylene terephthalate (PET) or aluminum). The proposed PLA is especially suitable for producing food containers with high barrier properties and thermo-mechanical resistance, such as: compostable cans, pots or vessels with improved chemical resistance to salty, acidic/basic and oily liquids, self-standing PLA coffee capsules.

The scope of the technical cooperation agreement is the design and the development of large-scale production of engineered PLA-based packaging products. An industrial partner, that can ensure appropriate economic and technical efforts for adapting the pre-existing processes to the production of the formulated PLA, could pursue this goal. In addition the partner sought is expected to ensure the availability of testing apparatus for checking the mechanical, thermal and chemical performances of the formulated PLA products in their final application conditions (e.g. test of machinability of filled PLA coffee capsule under coffee brewing).

The technical cooperation agreement could be also aimed at extending such innovative process of technological industrial transfer of PLA bio-plastics, to other bio-plastic materials that derive from renewable resources and are already present on the market.

Advantages and Innovations:
The proposed poly lactic acid (PLA) ensures a highly performance solution for eco-green packaging of food. Advantages of using this technology rely on the possibility of adapting effective formulation solutions to consolidated techniques and conditions of technological processing (extrusion, injection and compression molding). The technology also offers the possibility of improving the low performance of bio-plastics, by focusing on parameters such as thermal resistance, mechanical strength, permeability to atmosphere gases and aqueous vapor. The improved features allow overcoming crucial limitations implicated in the transfer from the research to the industrial scale. As an example, the traditional PLA is not easy to process because it does not resist to high temperatures. The technology allows solve the problem directly in the formulating stage. The proposed PLA also ensures high safety performance in terms of human health, since it considers the use of certificated components for food contact whose absence of release has been tested on experimental basis under conditions of use.
Furthermore, the use of fillers allows the proposed formulation to be economically affordable compared to the traditional PLA.
Given its improved technical and sustainability performances, the proposed technology can be employed as substitute of polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), aluminum and other multi-layered packaging systems. Particularly, in case of application for coffee capsule production, it has been estimated that the proposed PLA can offer the following improvements:
-thermo-mechanical resistance: from 60-70 °C to 100 °C (with pressure of 0.5 MPa and temperature of 100-110 °C);
-total compostability;
-saving 70.000 tons of waste from landfill and incinerator in Europe;
-saving 15000 tons of oil used in coffee capsules production process;
-saving 405000 tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) related to PE, PET and aluminum productions.
Stage of Development:
Prototype available for demonstration
IPs:
Secret Know-how

Partner sought

Type and Role of Partner Sought:
The Italian research team is interested in technology transfer with industrial companies, active in fields of engineering and processing of plastics (compounding, extrusion, co-extrusion, injection and co-injection molding, calendaring, coagulation, casting and blowing film) and/or production and designing of packaging.
The partner is expected to ensure appropriate investments regarding plastic compounding and processing, design, production and quality assurance of the formulated PLA-based packaging products. Partners should also ensure operational activities for industrial scaling-up and final testing of product under real conditions of use. The research team can offer technical expertise and know-how, chemical, physical, mechanical analysis and laboratory characterization from the early stages up to the first pre-industrial products.

Client

Type and Size of Client:
University
Already Engaged in Trans-National Cooperation:
Si
Languages Spoken:
English

Keywords

Technology Keywords:
08001003 Empaquetado / manipulación de alimentos
03004008 Plásticos y caucho relacionado con ingeniería y tecnología química