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28th November 2019, Hürth

Biocomposite innovations recognised

Dr Asta Partanen, nova-Institute; Michael Carus, nova-Institute; Sebastian Meyer, Golden Compound; Erik Pijlman, KNN Cellulose; Peter von Hoffmann, Coperion (Award sponsor); and Ebba Carlson, Bcomp. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

Dr Asta Partanen, nova-Institute; Michael Carus, nova-Institute; Sebastian Meyer, Golden Compound; Erik Pijlman, KNN Cellulose; Peter von Hoffmann, Coperion (Award sponsor); and Ebba Carlson, Bcomp. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

Golden Compound from Germany has become the recipient of the Biocomposite of the Year 2019 award, with its certified home compostable coffee capsules. KNN Cellulose from the Netherlands took second place with its biocomposite granulates made from recycled toilet paper. And Bcomp from Switzerland achieved third place with its powerRibs, a composite material made of natural fibres for high-performance applications in lightweight construction.

For the seventh time in a row, the Biocomposite of the Year innovation award was bestowed to producers and developers of innovative and new applications for biocomposites. The award ceremony took place at the world's largest conference on biocomposites: The 8th Biocomposites Conference Cologne.

With 200 participants, mainly from industry, and 30 exhibitors, the conference was once again the meeting place for developers, producers and potential users worldwide. An interesting aspect was the large number of new companies that have taken up and further professionalised the topic of biocomposites in recent years. These include large companies from Sweden and Finland as well as start-ups from various countries. Market analyses of nova-Institute show a production volume of 470,000 tonnes in Europe for the year 2018, in two years 500,000 tonnes will be exceeded.

Michael Carus, from nova-Institut, presenting at the 8th Biocomposite Conference Cologne. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

Michael Carus, from nova-Institut, presenting at the 8th Biocomposite Conference Cologne. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

“Never before has the demand for alternatives to classic plastic products been greater than today,” nova-Institute reports. “Currently, up to 80% of plastics can be replaced by biogenic fillers such as wood flour and cork or by natural fibres for reinforcement. By now, biocomposites are available for almost every application: packaging, consumer goods, toys, handles, shoes, façade and terrace elements, floors, car parts and even furniture. This years’ nominated companies provided a good overview of the growing application sectors for biocomposites: automotive, packaging, consumer goods, cladding, music instruments and facade elements.”

Golden Compound

Golden Compound’s HOMEcap is the world's first and only home compostable coffee capsule certified with OK Kompost HOME. It was successfully launched on the market at the beginning of the year.

Biodegradation in home compost avoids considerable waste streams. The HOMEcap is made from a unique compound comprising PTTMCC Biochems bio-based polymers PBS and PBSA mixed with sunflower seed shells and inorganic fillers. It comes with a paper and cellulose based lid, sealable to the capsule without additional glue, home compostable as well. The material composition results in low oxygen transmission rates, which allows to avoid additional barrier packaging and is therefore reducing waste. A VDI 4605 sustainability assessment showed that this capsule outperforms current state of the art capsules, like deep-drawn PP EVOH multilayer capsules, in terms of sustainability.

KNN Cellulose

KNN Cellulose’s biocomposite Recell is a granulate with competitive prices and a low environmental impact. The biocomposite material is made from recycled toilet paper, which is separated at a sewage treatment plant, and can be mixed with a variety of polymers such as bio-based polymers, PLA or PHA.

8th Biocomposite Conference Cologne, Exhibition Hall. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

8th Biocomposite Conference Cologne, Exhibition Hall. © nova-Institut GmbH / PvP

The product fits ideally into the recycling economy as it adds value to previously unused cellulose waste streams. The granules are suitable for standard injection moulding and extrusion lines. Current applications are e. g. flower pots, claddings, fences, terrace planks and boxes. Recell took part in the competition with a picnic table from Ecodeck. Recell cellulose fibres are efficiently recovered in wastewater treatment plants using Cellvation technology. The treatment plants benefit from lower operating costs, increased processing capacity and the reuse of cellulose fibres that would otherwise have to be incinerated. This reduces both the ecological footprint of the fibres and that of the wastewater treatment plants.

Bcomp

The Swiss company Bcomp has developed proprietary light-weighting solutions for high-performance applications by applying latest knowledge on composites to natural fibres. Thanks to powerRibs technology, a reinforcing grid inspired by the thin veins in leaves that provides maximum stiffness at minimum weight, natural fibres can achieve the performance of carbon fibres in a motorsport body and thus replace them.

The result is a 75% reduced CO2 footprint, 30% lower costs and improved safety without toxic dust and sharp shattering, as well as viable end-of-life options. Above all, however, powerRibs is said to make car interior coverings up to 40% lighter.

www.nova-institute.eu

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