Bioplastic, Company initiatives, News Roundup, Products, Video

Bioplastics get attention at #K2013

There are so many news that are coming out this week but let me first post this one, which has been stewing in my draft box for weeks.

There seems to be a lot of bioplastic launch (or products related to bioplastics) planned at the incoming K2013 Plastics and Rubber Tradeshow, which will be held on October 16-23 in Dusseldorf, Germany. The triennial international trade fair is expected to have more than 200,000 visitors with 3,100 exhibitors from 60 countries this year.

According to the organizers of K2013, about 147 companies are listed as exhibiting bioplastics at the show (I wish I could attend!!). The blog already posted BASF’s K2013 preview announcement with the launch of new variants under its ecovio® line; Lanxess to highlight its new bio-based EPDM rubber grades that uses Braskem’s sugarcane-based ethylene; and Bayer MaterialScience to highlight its carbon dioxide-based polyether polycarbonate polyols (PPPs) for use in high-quality foams

POLYLACTIC ACID:

Just this Monday, Corbion Purac announced a partnership with Innovia Films to jointly develop polylactic acid (PLA) film that is both transparent and resistant to higher temperatures. According to the companies, early product development has shown that these films exhibit considerably less shrinkage at high temperatures compared to existing PLA films and offer properties much closer to oil-based PET.

Many biopolymers including existing PLA currently have limited heat resistance, which restricts their use in many applications. Possible opportunities for the new PLA film include food packaging such as juice or soup pouches where the new PLA film will be able to withstand the temperature required for sterilization, as well as non-food applications such as release liners for pressure sensitive products, window films and protective films for smartphone screens.

Corbion Purac is contributing to the partnership its GMO-free lactide monomers as feedstock for the PLA bioplastic. Innovia said this new high heat PLA will fill a performance gap in the market. THe companies have already produced a range of prototype transparent films, which will be available for viewing at the K Show.

At the K Show, Corbion Purac said it will highlight recent developments in PLA resulting from numerous strategic partnerships (aside from Innovia) from a number of industries like packaging, automotive, home interiors and sporting goods. The company noted that PLA is a great replacement for PS, PP and ABS. PLA compounded blends containing PLLA and PDLA homopolymers that have been specifically developed for injection molding and extrusion have a heat performance similar to traditional PS, PP and ABS.

Another company looking to improve PLA’s performance is Germany-based GRAFE Advanced Polymers Gmbh. The company has expanded its product portfolio to include a masterbatch under the name Biocolen, which is not only suitable for coloring bioplastics but also reportedly improves the temperature stability of PLA during the deep drawing process by optimizing the material which must be stored cool and then reheated.

One of the most important applications for their improved PLA masterbatch is in the packaging of microwave meals, according to GRAFE.

Swedish specialty chemicals firm Perstorp is launching at the show its Capa caprolactone biodegradable polyester for bioplastics such as PLA and thermoplastic starch, which reportedly will improve several mechanical properties as well as accelerate biodegradation of the biopolymers. Perstorp said that by adding Capa, PLA can be used in film applications. Capa can also add mechanical strength, flexibility and low temperature performance to a bioplastic.

Last March, Corbion Purac has joined Perstorp in a research and development deal for caprolactine lactide co-product targeting the coatings and adhesives market. Possible uses for the renewable caprolactone lactide co-products include as polyols and as hotmelt adhesives.

The new caprolactone lactide co-products will be launched by Perstorp at the K Show. The companies said a number of lead customers have already been supplied with the new co-resins and have approved these in their final products.

The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV will present at the show its solvent-based CreaSolv process that permits efficient recycling of PLA as well as metal-plastic composites and expanded polystyrene (EPS). For PLA, Fraunhofer’s process will allow pure PLA, PLA-containing fractions, PLA composites and blends to be separated from packaging waste and processed into high-quality PLA recyclates. The recyclates can then be used for manufacturing high-quality packaging for non-food applications and for consumer goods.

BIO-POLYAMIDES:

Royal DSM’s products featured at the K Show will include new applications for its EcoPaXX polyamide 410 such as in the engine cover of the brand new Mercedes Benz A-Class as well as the crankshaft cover for a new generation of fuel-efficient engines from Volkswagen. Another high-performance application for bio-based EcoPaXX is in building and construction such as in insulating profiles of aluminum window frames.

Speaking of polyamides, Radici Group has just sent an email stating a press conference at the show on Oct. 17 regarding its specialty polyamides. The company has also been expanding its castor-based PA 610 under the trademark Radilon. Radici Group started producing high volumes of bio-based polymers using PA 610 in late 2011. The company’s Radilon D polymers are already approved for use in pneumatic pipes, truck brake air pipes, fuel line connectors and moulded components in automotive applications. This year, Radici Group also expanded applications in making filament yarn.

Other companies that I’m sure will also feature bio-based polyamides at the K include Evonik, Arkema, Solvay, DuPont, BASF, among others.

OTHER BIOPLASTICS:

Metabolix has been very active in promoting the launch of their new bio-based products to be shown at K 2013. The company plans to showcase its new compostable film grade resin Mvera B5010 designed for the compostable bag and film markets worldwide; the company’s new bio-based polymeric modifier for semi-rigid and flexible PVC compounds under the trademark I6001; and I6003rp, a new bio-based performance additive for recycled PVC. Metabolix will also feature bio-based masterbatch and bio-composite resin products.

Here is an explanation of their products via YouTube:

Celanese said it will highlight novel applications for the company’s Clarifoil cast cellulose diacetate film, which is biodegradable and compostable. Celanese has been producing the product since 1940s, and is said to be now available for thermoform film for packaging. More applications are being explored such as baked goods packaging, anti-fogging laminate in ski goggles to shoe lace tagging. According to this article, Celanese is touting the film as alternative to PVC or PET.

Wacker Chemie is launching at the K Show its VINNEX binder system that enables bioplastics to be processed just like conventional thermoplastics. VINNEX is a vinyl-acetate-based polymer binder system, which according to Wacker, can be combined with one or more biopolyesters and fillers in a modular system. It enables PLA to be produced into extremely thin films; it can combine incompatible biopolymers such as PLA and PBS; and also enables thermoforming of bioplastics intended for hot filling applications.

Croda will present its bio-based monomers such as its Priamine 1075 dimer diamine for high-end polyimide plastics, and Priplast 3293 bio-based polyester polyol building blocks for polyurethane applications.

Starch derivatives producer Roquette will be highlighting the following:

  • GAIALENE range of non-biodegradable plant-based plastics designed for durable and semi-durable uses that have mechanical properties similar to those of polyethylene and polypropylene materials.
  • POLYSORB isosorbides that can replace fossil-based diols for polymer synthesis.
  • POLYSORB ID plant-based and phthalate-free plasticizers
  • DISORBENE 3 sorbitol-based clarifier for polypropylene

Also at the show, AIMPLAS is launching at the show what it claims to be the first biodegradable bottle for drugstore and healthcare products developed through a BIO P FARM project developed by Spanish companies ALMUPLAS, Talleres Rubia and Talleres Pena, and AIMPLAS. The 150-500 ml packaging for creams, gels, shampoos or mouthwash can decomposed into water, carbon dioxide, salts and biomass within 45 days and four months after use.

This type of packaging is normally manufactured with high-density polyethylene. The companies did not say what type of feedstock or monomers used in this packaging. The biodegradable material is reportedly easy to process in conventional equipment and has lower energy consumption.

I am sure the blog will see more product news coming out of the K Fair next week.

About Doris de Guzman

Will Green Chemistry save the world or is it hype? Doris de Guzman examines alternative processing, new technology, R&D and other sustainability initiatives aimed at preventing pollution; replacing ingredients; and using renewable feedstocks in Green Chemistry. She has been covering the oleochemicals market for 15 years and spread her beat to inorganics, biofuels and green chemistry.

Discussion

2 Responses to “Bioplastics get attention at #K2013”

  1. Excellent digest Doris.
    I had planned to attend K2013 but finally coul not make it.
    Your post is more like a day there. Thank you!

    Posted by Lepitre | October 31, 2013, 2:00 pm
    • Thanks Bruno. I also wasn’t able to attend but companies are pretty good at sending press releases and I just compile them. Hopefully the next K Fair, we will be there.

      Posted by Doris de Guzman | November 1, 2013, 12:37 am

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