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Materials Scale-Up Technology

Italy claims world’s first facility to produce bio-plastic from glycerol.

Bio-on_Minerv_pha2016 opens with confirmation of an agreement signed by Bio-on and S.E.C.I. that will see the worlds first facility for the production of PHAs bioplastic from biodiesel production co-products, namely glycerol, open in Italy. The two companies will work together to build a production site with a 5000 tons/year output, expandable to 10,000 tons/year.

Requiring a 55 million investment from S.E.C.I. the facility will be located at an Eridania Sadam site and will be the world’s most advanced plant producing PHAs biopolymers from glycerol. PHAs, or polyhydroxyalkanoates, are bioplastics that can replace a number of traditional polymers currently made with petrochemical processes using hydrocarbons. The PHAs developed by Bio-on guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties with the advantage of being completely naturally biodegradable.

“We are investing 4 million in purchasing the license for this new technology developed by Bio-on,” says Eridania Sadam Chairman Massimo Maccaferri, “because this all-natural bioplastic represents a technological challenge that can contribute towards the growth of our group in the new “green” chemistry industry, with an eco-compatible and eco-sustainable approach”.

“We will create Italy’s first PHAs production plant from glycerol with one of Europe’s most important industrial groups,” explains Marco Astorri, Chairman of Bio-on S.p.A. “We have granted the first technological license from glycerol in line with our expectations and will be entering into a new collaboration to develop the promising high-performing biopolymers business developed by Bio-on S.p.A. and produced in Italy from glycerol by S.E.C.I. S.p.a.”.

Since February 2015, Bio-On S.p.A. has also been operating in the development of natural and sustainable chemicals for the future. Bio-On has developed an exclusive process for the production of a family of polymers called PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates) from agricultural waste (including molasses and sugar cane and sugar beet syrups). The bioplastic produced in this way is able to replace the main families of traditional plastics in terms of performance, thermo-mechanical properties and versatility. Bio-On PHA is a bioplastic that can be classified as 100% natural and completely biodegradable: this has been certified in Europe by Vincotte and in the US by USDA (United States Department of Agriculture).


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