Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Sustainable Polyesters and Renewable Terpenoid Monomers

Project description

'Greener' plastics using essential oils from plants and trees

It is difficult to imagine our lives before the widespread use of plastics and, conversely, eliminating plastics from our lives would be quite complicated. Significant research is focused on developing bio-based polymers as an alternative to those conventionally made from fossil fuel-derived hydrocarbons, such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polyester. This will reduce reliance on dwindling fossil fuel resources, increase recyclability and biodegradability, and reduce the impact of plastics on the environment and ecosystems. The EU-funded SUPREME project will advance this agenda by developing polymers synthesised from terpenes, natural hydrocarbon molecules found in essential oils of plants, using cost-effective and environmentally friendly catalysts.


Synthetic polymers derived from petrochemical products are essential for the production of a wide range of consumer products. The demand for more sustainable and renewable monomers and polymers is currently increasing, because fossil feedstock will become scarce in future times, and the global legislation is putting an increasing stress on the use of certain monomers used in the polymer industry. The aliphatic polyesters represent one of the most appealing type of bioplastic materials, because of their general biocompatibility and facile hydrolytic degradation and, in this ambit, the use of terpenes as monomers or monomer-precursors is largely unexplored. The primary objective of this project, is the creation of new polyester formulations based on renewable and accessible terpene monomers to answer to the growing need for future generations of more functional and sustainable materials. Three renewable monomers have been selected, two derived from camphor and a new one from β-elemene. Structurally new polyesters will be synthesized by ring opening (co)polymerization of these monomers, using catalytic systems based on cheap and health-friendly metals (Fe, Al). The use of the new β-elemene based monomer will incorporate vinylic groups along the polymer chains, offering the possibility for post-modification of the obtained material. The success of the project is supported by the Experienced Researcher background in polymer synthesis with the Host experience in the discovery and catalytic valorization of new terpene scaffolds. The action will take place in an interdisciplinary and international environment, granting to the Experienced Researcher a solid train in scientific and soft skills needed for his future career. The results of the action will have a strong impact on the society, giving the opportunity to asses circular economy on a highly impact industrial sector, such as that of bio-polymers.



Net EU contribution
€ 172 932,48
Avenida paissos catalans 16
43007 Tarragona

See on map

Este Cataluña Tarragona
Activity type
Research Organisations
Other funding
€ 0,00