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A test bed for your bio-based product solutions

Want to make products more sustainable? A new open innovation test bed can help develop novel bio-based materials to replace their oil-based counterparts.

Climate Change and Environment icon Climate Change and Environment
Industrial Technologies icon Industrial Technologies

The EU-funded INN-PRESSME project has created an open innovation test bed (OITB) to promote efficient industrial processes for replacing fossil plastic with nano-enabled bio-based materials in products. European SMEs and companies seeking to develop sustainable solutions in the packaging, energy, transport and consumer goods sectors can submit their proposals under the project’s second open call. “The use of bio-based materials – made from biological sources, such as plants – as sustainable alternatives to fossil-based counterparts are growing in various industries, including packaging, transport, and consumer goods,” states Dr Ulla Forsström of INN-PRESSME project coordinator VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland in a news item posted on ‘Innovation News Network’. “The project’s main aim is to develop novel sustainable, and recyclable solutions based on bioplastic or create fibre-based alternatives that can be recycled with other fibre-based materials. These bio-based materials include both biodegradable and non-biodegradable polymers. The bio-based polymer sector is continuously growing. Plants are an important bio-based feedstock and one of the main ‘factories’ for technical materials.” The OITB offers services for feedstock conversion, materials development and upgrading. It also provides technical and market-oriented services, including eco-design and circular economy assessment, characterisation and nano-safety studies, support for funding and product certification advice. Between 12 and 15 innovation concepts will be selected from the open call. Successful applicants will be given access to 16 state-of-the-art pilot lines across Europe. During the project, the pilot lines will be upgraded with process monitoring and functionalities as well as online quality control.

Nine demo cases

The performance of the improved materials will be tested in nine real-scale test cases. The four demo cases in the packaging sector will concern bio-based adhesive smart labels for food and cosmetics, fibre-based heat-sealable stand-up pouches with high barrier performance, bio-based boxes with bio-foam and bio-based tubes for cosmetics. The three demo cases in the energy and transport sector will involve bio-based automotive components with nano-enabled functionalities, bio-based automotive parts as structural/aesthetic components and bio-based ultracapacitors. “Up to a quarter of the mass of a modern mid-size car, which is about 1,100kg, consists of polymer materials today: bodywork, the interior lining (doors), dashboard, side trim, seats, impact protection and much more,” explains Dr Forsström. “That is why INN-PRESSME is also devoting itself to this topic. In addition to 3D-printed elements, the project also aims to develop sustainable materials for structural and aesthetic components based on commonly used injection moulding technology.” The final two demo cases deal with consumer goods. They are high-performance, wear-resistant fully bio-based fungicidal footwear, and bio-based sporting goods in which the current material is replaced with strong, antimicrobial bio-foam. The application deadline for the INN-PRESSME (open INNovation ecosystem for sustainable Plant-based nano-enabled biomateRials deploymEnt for packaging, tranSport and conSuMEr goods) open call is 15 June 2023. Further information and application guidelines are available on the project website. For more information, please see: INN-PRESSME project website

Keywords

INN-PRESSME, bio-based, nano, material, bio-based material, sustainable, packaging, consumer goods, energy, transport

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