The 12th annual International Conference on Bio-based Materials will be coming soon to Cologne, Germany, and one highlight of the event is the presentation of the innovation awards. Twenty-one applications were whittled down to six finalists, which are described here. The products range from sanitary pads, which are classified as a medical device by FDA, to home-compostable coffee capsules that are said to outperform deep-drawn PP EVOH multilayer capsules. At the conference on May 15 and 16, the three winners will be announced.
The event is organized by nova institute (Hürth, Germany), an independent research organization focused on a bio-based economy. More information about the conference is available on the organization’s website.
Here are the six finalists in alphabetical order.
Aakar Innovations (Navi Mumbai, India): Anandi Eco+ 100% compostable sanitary pads
Anandi Eco+ is the only government-sanctioned lab-certified 100% compostable sanitary pad on the Indian market, according to the company. In a compost environment, at least 90% of the pad biodegrades within 180 days. The biodegradation process takes longer under other environmental conditions.
Aakar said that it uses local resources like jute, bagasse, banana fiber and water hyacinth to produce the sanitary pads. No harmful chemicals are used, and the resulting composted material is suitable for further use.
The product complies with compostability and labelling standards ASTM D6400 and EN 13432.
Carbiolice (Riom, France): Evanesto Zero-Impact PLAstic
Carbiolice reports that it has developed a disruptive technology that uses enzymes to speed up the compostability and biodegradability of PLA. Developed as an additive, Evanesto can be used with conventional plastics transforming processes without modifications. The additive is best suited for applications involving single-use plastics, where compostability and biodegradability are a meaningful end-of-life solution, according to the company. It can be used to make products that are 100% compostable and biodegradable.
The technology has been successfully demonstrated on thin films and sheets through tests performed by Organic Waste Systems N.V. under domestic composting conditions according to NF T51-800.
The company plans to bring Evanesto to market in early 2020.
Golden Compound (Ladbergen, Germany): HOMEcap home compostable coffee capsules
HOMEcap is described as the world's only capsule that has been certified to the OK compost HOME standard by TÜV Austria. It is made from a unique compound comprising PTTMCC’s PBS and PBSA mixed with sunflower seed shells and inorganic fillers. A cellulose-based lid seals to the capsule without glue and is home compostable, as well.
The material composition results in low oxygen transmission rates, eliminating the need for additional barrier packaging.
A VDI 4605 sustainability assessment showed that the capsule outperforms current state-of-the-art capsules such as deep-drawn PP EVOH multilayer products.
Scion—New Zealand Forest Research Institute Ltd. (Rotorua, New Zealand): Ligate adhesive technology
Scion's Ligate is a bio-adhesive technology made from 100% bio-based and sustainably grown products, including lignin, tannin and protein. It can be used to manufacture engineered wood products that do not emit volatile organic compounds and have a reduced life-cycle impact compared with products made using traditional petrochemical adhesives.
Water-based, non-toxic ligate adhesives are compatible with existing adhesive and panel board manufacturing equipment. Unlike other bio-based adhesives, Scion’s resin does not just replace petrochemical-based components but incorporates bio-inspired chemistry approaches in a scalable and simple way to deliver a performance product that is environmentally friendly, said the company.
Spinnova Oy (Jyväskylä, Finland): Spinnova sustainable textile fiber
Spinnova’s patented technology produces cellulose-based textile fibers without harmful chemicals and creates no waste or side streams. Unlike other technologies for making man-made cellulosic fibers, the process does not use dissolving methods. Spinnova only uses wood or waste stream–based cellulose that complies with standards set forth by the Forest Stewardship Council.
Spinnova’s objective is to globally commercialize the fiber products in collaboration with major textile brands.
Stora Enso (Helsinki, Finland): Lineo lignin alternative for petroleum-based products
Making up 20 to 30% of the composition of wood, lignin is often discarded or burned during the pulp production process. However, when extracted and converted, lignin could transform the way natural resources are used to make products.
In 2018, Stora Enso launched Lineo, a renewable, wood-based, non-toxic alternative to fossil-based materials. It can replace oil-based phenolic materials in a range of applications, including resins for plywood, oriented strand board, laminated veneer lumber, paper lamination and insulation materials.
Stora Enso continues to research new applications and is currently focused on developing the use of Lineo in formaldehyde-free binders, carbon fiber and energy storage.