Italian renewable chemicals developer, Bio-on S.p.A., and Pizzoli S.p.A., Italy’s largest operator in the potato sector, will collaborate to build the nation’s first PHAs bioplastic production plant using waste product from the potato agro-industrial process.
The facility is expected to produce producing 2,000 ton/year of PHAs, expanding to 4,000 ton/year in the future. Following an initial €220,000 study phase to optimize the integration with existing structures and check economic compatibility, the project is set to be completed within approximately two years. The new plant will start production in 2017.
Bio-On has developed an exclusive process for the production of PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) from agricultural waste. Bio-on actually already has its own 10,000 tons/year PHA production facility constructed by Techint in Bologna, Italy, that uses waste materials of sugar beet and cane production. The company’s PHA polymer is marketed under the brand Minerv-PHA.
PHAs are linear polyesters regarded as self-condensation polymers of molecules containing both a hydroxyl and a carboxylic group. A comprehensive profile for PHA was recently published in Tecnon OrbiChem’s Bio-materials newsletter in January.
Bio-on also announced that it has expanded its partnership with Italian sugar beet producer, Coprob SCA, which it has been collaborating since 2008. The new multi-year investment, worth EUR 960,000, aims to expand application of sugar beet residues as feedstock. The agreement between the two companies came from research and development laboratories Bio-on and the financial participation of Coprob sole agent in Italy for the production of PHAs from sugar beet.
Last month, Bio-on announced its collaboration with Eridania Sadam S.p.A on developing and optimizing production of levulinic acid. The companies said current commercial levulinic acid processes fails to meet European environmental standards. Eridania Sadam is an Italian agro-industrial group operating in the production, packaging and marketing of sugar, sweeteners, and other foodstuffs. Eridania Sadam is investing EUR 1.8 million to the project.
The project aims to convert the by-products of the sugar industry into levulinic acid, optimizing innovative processes and reduce production costs.