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high-performance BIOPLAStic PROducts for new markets and applications

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BIOPLAS-PRO (high-performance BIOPLAStic PROducts for new markets and applications)

Reporting period: 2017-12-01 to 2018-04-30

Growing environmental awareness leads to a growing demand for sustainable alternatives for plastic products. Currently bioplastic products with the same properties are expensive. In BIOPLAS-PRO we aim to develop and produce products using a new revised technology and unique biopolymer resin-mixes. SINECO produces two- and three dimensional flexible intertwined or entangled mats of polymer monofilaments with a high void index. These can be used in a large variety of markets. At present, our products use synthetic polymers with main focus in civil engineering (drainage, erosion control, stabilisation), building (ventilation, drainage, insulation) and industry (spacer, flow media in composite materials). To be able to process also biopolymer mixes it is necessary to modify our existing in house developed technology - isotropic-channel extrusion-moulding. Shorter retention times and lower operating temperatures are needed, to avoid biopolymers from degrading. Thanks to process improvements and growing volumes, we will be able to reduce the costs for the products.
To test and develop our technology we constructed a 60 kg/h pilot plant. One important conclusion is that with our technology we can process biopolymers on the one hand and a number of new product-geometries on the other. These new products can be applied in a huge number of, for us new, markets, as a substituent for any (soft) plastic foam applications. Based on this experience in the next phase we intend to build a new full-scale production plant (3000 ton/y).
During the Phase I we defined the characteristics of our product portfolio (BIO-MAT, BIO-DRAIN, BIO-CORE and the soft products SIN-FLEX/BIO-FLEX). We defined the final development plan to scale up our technology and prepare its commercialization routes. We did a freedom-to-operate analysis, from which we concluded there shouldn't be a conflict in the sense of IP.
We also made an action plan for commercialization. We intend to sell our new products at a competitive price (5€/kg), reducing margins. We compensate the higher costs with the revenues of our conventional products and the new SIN-FLEX line.
We are the first company to apply this technology to biopolymers. If we would substitute synthetic polymers with biopolymers for our complete production capacity (ca. 4 kton/year), we would reduce the CO2 emissions with 10 ktons/year, while CO2 savings from bioplastic products are approximately 2.5kg per kg produced plastic.