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Manufacturing of biodegradable and compostable packaging nets through a conventional one-step extrusion process

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BioPackNet (Manufacturing of biodegradable and compostable packaging nets through a conventional one-step extrusion process)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-05-31

BioPackNet was born to solve the environmental & economic problem typical of the plastic mesh disposal. Nowadays, best biodegradable meshes available are “knitted meshes”, with low mechanical properties, whose production involves 25% wastage, ×7 times material used/bag, and higher production costs than extruded meshes. End-life treatment of conventional petroleum based plastics is mixing with household waste, involving either costly recycling processes or mostly pollution, ending in dumping sites or incinerators. BioPackNet solution is the natural substitution of conventional meshes, reducing landfill disposal & petroleum consumption, by compostable (disposable) BioPackNets at competitive market price (0.024€/kg- 0.005€/kg non /oriented mesh), with improved mechanical properties. BioPackNet offers also innovative packers (Biobag &Biopack) with lower energy & time consumption, 60% throughput increased saving 50% labour cost. BioPackNet will reduce in 13.155 tones landfill/incineration by 2024- 1% market share- by introducing our biodegradable meshes, more than 3,3 Billion units of extruded meshes (≈ 4gr/mesh-) to pack M tons/y of vegetables, fruits and shellfish. Packing companies will benefit for compostable meshes, and packers with high economic benefits. BioPackNet is in line with EU Action Plan for Circular Economy and “Green economy”, since contributes to a cradle-to-cradle approach with 100% compostable meshes & eco-friendly technology: it helps to comply with EU recovery & recycling Directives, and Landfill Directive (1999/31/EC/1999b).
Through Phase 2, we aim to 1) optimize bioplastic formulations & compounding for 4 case studies application, having a final biomaterial sold for 3 €/kg. 2) optimise Extrusion Melt Spinning (EMS) process by reducing weight & cost of current biodegradable meshes, maintaining mechanical properties, 3) design & optimize 2 packing machines for fruits, vegetables and shellfish: a) Biobag for 3-10 kg bag size; b) Biopack for 0,50-2 kg bag. 4) Our 4 case studies meshes & packers full-scale will be validated at end users’ facilities, and 5) will be launched into the EU market by 2020. Ecoplas & Blue Team will increase its personnel in 8 and 6 new employees respectively, and its total sales projection and profit will be worth 52M€ and 5,7M€ for Ecoplas, and 25,6M€ and 3,7M € for Blue Team in the first 5 years’ commercialization. BioPackNet profitability for Ecoplas & Blue Team its demonstrated with 868% and 481% of ROI.
The main objective of this FS was to ensure that BioPackNet meets the technical, commercial & financial requirements for its successful implementation and commercialization.
Main results: 1) Biodegradable Polymers Analysis: preselection of current biopolymers available & market price analysis. 2) Production & operation cost analysis: a) Blue Team detailed cost breakdown of Biopack & Biobag materials requirement, labour cost, installation cost, transportation, average 15% margin after general expenses, that determined Biopack & Biobag selling prices (100.624€ &120.893€). And Biopack & Biobag economic benefits for end users, an average savings of 0.9M€/year for standard packing company (considering 20M mussels/year), b) cost-competitive meshes selling prices (0.024€/kg- 0.005€/kg non /oriented mesh). 3) Key partners: a) AIMPLAS (subcontracted R&D bioplastics institute) to improve & tuned our bioplastic formulation & compounding. b) end users for final meshes and packers’ validation: Linamar and Mussel farmers of Cabo de Cruz, c) Morera y Vallejo, supplier of compostable label for manufacturing combi-nets during ph2, and post project, d) Greenize consulting to develop Life Cycle Analysis, and assess us during certification process. e) Packing distributors with long commercial relationship with Blue Team & Ecoplas, commercial allies to create EU sales networks. We have received supporting letters from packing companies, distributors, and food retail companies. And have preselected packers’ equipment’s providers. 4) Market analysis & commercialization strategy: we will focus on vegetables, fruit and shellfish packing sector. 5) Patentability study: we confirm a freedom to operate analysis and Intellectual Protection Strategy to protect technology and trademark, and extend BioPackNet around Europe. 6) Financial plan: from a detailed 5 years sales forecast. Ecoplas revenue of 52 M€: 1) BioPackNet meshes sales (39,5M€), 2) Biopack and Biobag sales (12,44M€), with average profit margin of 8%. Blue Team revenue of 25,6 M€ from: 1) Direct sales of 112 units (13,4M€), 2) machines sold to Ecoplas, 104 units (11,5M€),3) After sales services (0,78M€). Profitability of BioPackNet is proven for Ecoplas with IRR= 71%, and for Blue Team by IRR= 52%.
BioPackNet is a sustainable alternative to conventional petroleum-based meshes production, with linked polluted disposal and combustion, or a costly recycling processes. BioPackNet transforms polluting plastic packing into a sustainable business, in line with the new EU Action Plan for Circular Economy and “Green economy”, and will help to comply with EU recovery and recycling Directives. BioPackNet promotes EU objectives related to sustainable consumption & production and contributes to EU strategic goal, by 2050, to grow in a way that respects resource constraints. BioPackNet project breakthrough is summarised in following 3 objectives of the project: 1) 4 types of 100% Biodegradable & Compostable meshes: shellfish nets, oriented, non-oriented nets and combined nets. Compostability certified: (EN 13432) at competitive market price (0.024€/kg non-oriented, and 0.005€/kg oriented mesh), with improved mechanical properties (Tensile strength and Elongation at break) vs traditional petroleum based. 2) Innovative EMS process: Eco-friendly technology: 30% reduction of biopolymers consumption per mesh, 20% throughput increase (80m/min), 20% decrease in energy & time consumption, 15% waste reduction, and fully automated. 3) Innovative packers (Biopack & Biobag): with a decreased energy (50%) & time consumption (25%) due to lower processing Tª (120-170C). Payback ≤ 3 years, 60% throughput increased which saves 1 filling line (200.000€) and 50% labour cost (up to 0.9M€/y), and 15% wastage reduction vs knitted process.
During our first 5 years of commercialization our objective is to sell a total of 13.155 tons of meshes that will provide 39,4 M€ revenue; 112 Biopack units (12,3M€) and 104 Biobag machines (13,5M€), and provide after sales services (0.77M€). We will target farming producing countries (Spain, Italy, France reach 52%), shellfish producers as Portugal, and main consumers of organic food & bio-plastic (north-central EU countries) and in Latin America. Our market launch in 2020 will be in Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, The Netherlands & Belgium; Austria and Switzerland in 2021; and Norway, Greece and Latin America (Brazil & Argentina in 2022. Our payback period will be short, 2,5 years, initial investment will be refund by mid-2021 and let us foresee a positive cash flow on the second year of commercialization. Ecoplas & Blue Team will increase its personal in 14 people (8&6 people respectively): 3 R&D, 4 workmen, 4 sellers, 3 administration.
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