The packaging industry is fully committed to go green by choosing other raw materials such as biomass instead of fossil fuels. This is in fact the key message in the report published earlier this year “The new plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics” of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.
PET is a widely used plastic. A consortium of SMEs and research institutions have developed a unique process to produce high-performance PET from biomass. This BioPET100 is 100% bio-based and suitable for high-end applications, including cosmetics. During the 2nd Biobased Business Event on September 2016 in Emmen (The Netherlands) the first prototype of a cosmetic container with a lid made of BioPET100 was presented.
This groundbreaking development is the result of an intensive innovative collaboration. BioPET100 is made from glycerin, a by-product obtained during the production of biodiesel. This starting material is collected from waste streams of SunOil Biodiesel in Emmen. Using the pyrolysis technology from BioBTX BV, which was developed in close collaboration with the University of Groningen, glycerin is converted to a mixture of so-called bio-aromatics and purified and oxidized by Syncom BV (Groningen) afterwards. This intermediate product, consisting of isophthalic acid and terephthalic acid, is then polymerized with green ethylene glycol by Cumapol at the Applied Polymer Innovations Foundation, both located in Emmen. Stenden University in Emmen has also contributed to develop this polymerization process. Finally Dufor (Zevenaar) carried out the injection molding at Aarts Plastic (Waalwijk). This way, the first BioPET100 packaging for cosmetic applications was born.
This BioPET100 showcase made from waste stream materials is a world premiere. This success shows that biomass residues can be used as feedstock for the production of polyesters. As this technology is suitable for scale up, the consortium of partners are ready to take it to the next level!