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1.2 Million euro grant for bioplastic research program

The University of Groningen, the Hanze University of Applied Sciences and Wageningen University and Research will embark on a three year research program for the development of bioplastics from sugar. They will work closely with companies such as Cosun Beet Company, Teijin, Senbis Polymer Innovations, Bioclear Earth and Sanovations.  

Bioplastic competitive with plastics from fossil oil

A 1.2 million euro grant is available, 900,000 euro of which is provided by EU funding, while the rest is provided by the provinces of Groningen and Drenthe and the Northern Netherlands Alliance (SNN). The aim of the project is to make bioplastic competitive with plastics from fossil oil. If successful, it could create 60 to 85 jobs in the northern provinces.

Both microbiology and chemistry are central to the proposed research. Scientists will look for new ways to transform sugar (for example from sugar beets) into chemical building blocks. Anaerobic fermentation is one of the technologies that will be developed, as it is more simple and cheaper than traditional aerobic fermentation. One of the main aims is to create a green alternative for polyethylene.

Value chain from sugar beets to high-end plastic products

The long term aim is for the northern companies to produce biobased plastics and intermediates on an industrial scale, and thus create a complete value chain from sugar beets to high-end plastic products. These products could range from packaging to high quality yarns. The project should make a switch to more sustainable materials economically viable for the industrial partners. The agricultural partners will benefit by producing for an innovative and high-value market.

Project leaders are University of Groningen professor of Biotechnologie Gert-Jan Euverink and Johan Sanders, CEO of Sanovations BV.

Source: RUG



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