Research
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11 Oct 2017
Kick-off meeting of RefuCoat, a Bio-Based Industries project for production of recyclable food package coatings

The RefuCoat project ("Full recyclable food package with enhanced gas barrier properties and new functionalities by the use of high performance coatings") was launched last June, 21th 2017 at the Plastics Technology Center -AIMPLAS- in Valencia (Spain), the coordinating site of this new european project from the EU H2020-BBI-JTI-2016 call.

The consortium has the participation of the Polymer Biotechnology Group directed by Dr. Auxiliadora Prieto, member of the Department of Environmental Biology of Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas (CIB-CSIC). The project, which is granted with € 2.3 million, focuses on industrial applications and count with the collaboration between 4 academic and 8 industrial partners from 5 countries (Belgium (1), Croatia (1), Germany (2), Ireland (1) and Spain (7)).

RefuCoat project aims to develop hybrid bio-based high oxygen/water barrier and active coatings to be used in a monolayer bio-based food packages (films and trays) as alternative to current metallised and modified atmosphere (MAP) packages to avoid the use of non-renewable materials in multilayer structures that currently lead to complex and expensive recycling steps.

Hybrid coating formulations will combine cost efficiently produced polyglycolic acid (PGA) and modified silica oxide. Fully biodegradable packages for fresh food products will be obtained with middle chain modified polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA). PGA- and PHA-based hybrid coatings with high gas barrier properties will be further improved with active substances for improved shelf-life.

Furthermore, new packages based on bio-PET and bio-PE combined with hybrid and active coatings will be developed. The generated products will be validated and compared to current metallised, non-bio-based alternatives in industrial products, in performance, shelf-life and biodegradability. Safety and regulatory compliance, environmental and economic sustainability will be specifically addressed.

Refucoat main impacts are expected in the improved performance of food packages, reduction of landfilling waste, cost and environmental effectiveness in processing by Life Cycle and Techno-Economic Assessment, improved preservation of food products and new markets.

 

More information about the project at www.refucoat.eu