Materials and technologies – September 2022

04 October 2022

Coatings and barriers
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) have developed edible films and coatings from green algae biomass to prolong the shelf life of produce. The edible algae extract is obtained by ultrasound assisted sustainable extraction of waste green algae biomass. The study (2.20 MB) is published in RSC Advances.
In a study (3.55 MB) published in Science of the Total Environment, Aalto University researchers review the latest developments in biobased barrier coating materials for food packaging of paper/cardboard. The biobased alternatives can provide strong barrier properties against grease, oxygen, water, air and microbes.
The three-year ECOFUNCO project with the objective to use waste from the agricultural and food industry to produce coatings has been completed. Low-valorised biomass sources were used to sustainably select, extract and functionalise molecules such as proteins, polysaccharides and fatty acids to develop new bio-based coatings for cellulosic and plastic materials. The project had a consortium of more than fifteen partners and was funded by BBI JU under the European Union Horizon 2020 programme.

Development of plastics
Researchers of Osaka Metropolitan University have successfully synthesised fumarate by combining CO2 with pyruvate (derived from biomass) by using biobased catalysts. This fumarate can be used to make biodegradable plastics like polybutylene succinate, storing the carbon in a compact, durable, solid form. The study (abstract) is published in Reaction Chemistry & Engineering.
A study conducted by Washington University may soon lead to lighter, stronger carbon fibre materials and plastics with a gentler environmental impact using lignin. Lignin is a compound from plants and is mostly considered as waste in the industry. The research (5.54 MB) is published in the journal Matter.

Recycling of plastic materials
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology propose advanced methods of recycling based on thermochemical technologies which can lead to plastic products with more than 95% lower climate impact when powered by renewable energy. The recycling methods enable the conversion of carbon waste and avoids carbon losses and waste acceleration. The research has been carried out as part of the FUTNERC* project and is funded by the Swedish Energy Agency, Borealis and Preem. The study (3.49 MB) is published in the Journal of Cleaner Production.
Junta de Andaluća (in Spanish) reports that the company Setraoil is building a plant that will transform PE and PP waste into pyrolytic fuel for heating boilers in the industrial sector or greenhouses.

Packaging design
Scientists from Kaunas University of Technology have developed a takeaway food container that solves common leakage, cooling and size problems. The invention is a plastic-free cardboard food box covered with Teflon. The Teflon coating is easy to clean off, making the package suitable for recycling afterwards.

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