The Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG) helps members develop and bring to market their innovative biobased and renewable chemical products through insightful policy and regulatory advocacy. BRAG is managed by B&C® Consortia Management, L.L.C., an affiliate of Bergeson & Campbell, P.C.


 

 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

On August 30, 2018, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology (Fraunhofer IGB) published an article announcing the latest advances in using 3-carene as a building block to produce biobased plastics. The aforementioned substance, 3-carene, “is a component of turpentine oil, a waste stream of the production of cellulose from wood.” This substance can be found in pine, larch, or spruce and is usually a byproduct that ends up being incinerated. The research project’s name -- “TerPa – Terpenes as building blocks for biobased polyamides” -- reflects the general premise of the technique used in transforming 3-carene into polyamides, which are used as alternatives to glass/metal and resistant to various chemicals and solvents. Researchers at Fraunhofer IGB confirm that they have optimized the synthesis of lactam -- a key component in building polyamides -- in large scale through a single reactor that requires less energy input. The resulting biobased polyamides are amorphous and resistant to high temperatures, which are ideal in the production of plastics.


 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

At Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, Dominik Kopp, a Ph.D. student, has developed a method for turning coffee waste into biodegradable plastic coffee cups. Because of its properties, sugars are an efficient source that is often converted into biobased chemicals. According to this study, coffee grounds consist of 50 percent sugars that can be converted into lactic acid. Once this is done, lactic acid can be used to produce biodegradable plastics. “You could use such plastics to make anything from plastic coffee cups to yoghurt containers to compost bags to sutures in medicine,” Kopp highlights.


 

 

 

By Lynn L. Bergeson

Researchers in Lithuania and Egypt have discovered how to use N, N-dimethylcyclohexylamine (DMCHA) to break down multilayer flexible packaging (MFP) that pose a threat to the environment. MFP is used in making blister pill packages, candy wrappers, chip packets, and related products, and can contain aluminum, among other toxic substances, which when leaked or incinerated is hazardous to the environment. Although some practices exist to separate the multilayered packaging through recycling technologies, the European Union (EU), for example, limits practices based on energy consumption, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, recycling rate, and sustainability. Combined, these limitations allow for a rate of less than 66 percent of MFPs. This new method, however, allows for recycling rates above 99 percent.

The technology developed separates each layer from one another by using DMCHA and other switchable hydrophilicity solvents (SHS) in an ultrasonic treatment to accelerate the process. Once separation of the layers has occurred, the dissolved plastic materials can be recovered without heating, avoiding CO2 production. For further details on the study, click here.


 
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