BIOMAC: European Sustainable Bio-based nanoMAterials Community
The BIOMAC project aims to build a sustainable OITB (Open Innovation Test Bed), composed of 17 pilot plants and supported by several technical and non-technical services spread across Europe for the scale-up of new bio-based materials.
Recent developments make bio-waste a key player in the European economy, providing a major impetus towards resource-efficient circular business models.
In recent times, new lines of development and value chains have opened up, which will help to make the leap to a circular economy, using bio-waste as secondary raw materials for the generation of high value-added compounds for multiple industrial sectors. Currently, much of this waste is not valorised and ends up in landfill or is used in low value-added applications.
In this sense, developments in bio-based nanomaterials join biotechnologies applied to biomass, converting renewable resources into high added-value polymers. The BIOMAC project will work along these lines, establishing an Open Innovation Test Bed (OITB) that will provide an access point for SMEs, large industries and R&D entities interested in developing new applications and products based on bio-based polymers.
Summary and objectives
The OITB on which the BIOMAC project is based will aim at scaling up existing production processes for bio-based and nanostructured materials. To this end, a network of pilot plants has been set up in eleven European countries that are well positioned in the development of bio-based nanomaterials (Greece, Belgium, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Hungary and Portugal).
By fractionating a biomass source (miscanthus waste), bio-based nanocomposites and “builing blocks” will be produced, which will serve as biopolymer precursors for the different strategic sectors developed within BIOMAC – food packaging, construction, automotive and printed electronics – so that the resulting technologies can be validated and scaled up to be price competitive.
The different participating partners will be grouped into 5 internal TeCs (test cases), each of which will address a specific topic (agriculture, automotive, food packaging, construction and printed electronics). These TeCs will then be open to the public.
The BIOMAC OITB has also set up 4 hubs or coordinating centres which will work on the different phases of the project. The 17 pilot plants distributed in the different countries involved in the project serve these hubs. In the case of ITENE, the technology centre will host pilot plants 13 (obtaining nanocellulose and nanocrystals for different applications) and 14 (formulation of bio-based coatings and inks).
A. PILOT PLANT SUPREME HUB.
This hub includes three groups into which the pilot plants can be classified:
1. Biomass Fractionation and Nanocomposite Production Cluster: Pilot Plant 1 and Pilot Plant 5.
2. Intermediate Materials and Nanocomposite Production Cluster: Pilot Plants 2, 4, 8, 8, 10, and 13.
3. Final Products Production and Formulation Cluster: Pilot Plants 3, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17.
B. VALIDATION SERVICE HUB: Service group to analyse, evaluate and characterise the raw materials used, the technologies developed in the project and the products obtained, all of this following an economic and environmental perspective with the aim of preserving the viability of BIOMAC.
C. MARKET UPTAKEN HUB: A group of services structured to support business issues, legalisation and data management, all included in an innovation management service. In addition, important issues such as food safety and nanosafety of the products obtained will be considered in order to reduce potential health and environmental risks.
D. VALUE CHAIN ASSESSMENT HUB: A group of services dedicated to the assessment of the value chain, with the aim of demonstrating that both the processes and products produced are economically and environmentally sustainable.
The BIOMAC consortium brings together 33 partners from 12 European countries including 21 technology centres or universities, 3 associations, 4 information management centres and 5 industrial validators or end-users. The consortium brings together leading organisations in the fields of biomass pre-treatment, extraction, processing and manufacturing of chemicals, characterisation, modelling, environmental assessment, standardisation, nanosafety, innovation management and training.
1. Aristotelio Panepistimio Thessalonikis (Greece). Coordinator.
2. Luleå University of Technology (Sweden).
3. Bio Base Europe – Pilot Plant (Belgium).
4. Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology (Luxembourg).
5. RISE Processum (Sweden).
6. Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik und Bioökonomie e.V. (Germany).
7. The University of Edinburgh (United Kingdom).
8. Asociación de Investigación de Materiales Plásticos y Conexas-AIMPLAS (Spain).
9. Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research (Germany).
10. Creative Nano – Cnano (Greece).
11. Instituto Tecnológico del Embalaje, Transporte y Logística, ITENE (Spain).
12. Asociación de Investigación Metalúrgica del Noroeste – AIMEN (Spain).
13. Polytechnico di Milano (Italy).
14. Danish Technological Institute (Denmark).
15. NanTypos OE (Greece).
16. University of Burgos (Spain).
17. Abis Spolka z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia SPK (Poland).
18. IRIS Technology Solutions, SL (Spain).
19. Afoi Koutsantoni EE (Greece).
20. Instituto de Soldadura e Qualidade (Portugal)
21. STAM SRL (Italy).
22. European Biomass Industry Association- EUBIA (Belgium).
23. Bio Eco Energy Company (Belgium).
24. European Bioplastics e.V. (Germany).
25. Idener Research & Development Agrupación de Interés Económico (Spain).
26. AXIA Innovation (Denmark).
27. Exelisis IKE (Greece).
28. Universita degli Studi di Padova (Italy).
29. Diad Group SPRL (Italy).
30. Ohmatex A/S (Denmark).
31. Eversia Innova (Spain).
32. Acciona Construcción SA (Spain).
33. Novamont SPA (Italy).
The BIOMAC project is organised in 11 work packages (WP) and ITENE participates in 10 of them.
Thus, ITENE will lead the deployment and demonstration of its own pilot lines: plant 13 for the production of nanocellulose and nanocrystals for different applications and plant 14 for the formulation of bio-based coatings and inks. In these pilot plants, the technology centre will work on the production of nanofibrillated cellulose (NFC) and cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) – which will be functionalised according to the needs of their end use – and on the formulation of bio-based coatings and inks.
In WP2, ITENE will participate in the monitoring and optimisation process of the pilot lines, improving and upgrading its pilot plants with the aim of increasing their nanomaterials production yields and optimising their quality.
Within WP3, ITENE will support the following TeCs: agriculture applications (film for agricultural production) (Task 3.3), food packaging (Task 3.4) and printed electronics (Task 3.5), providing the nanomaterials developed in its pilot plants.
In WP4, ITENE will lead the task of characterisation of the raw materials used in the production of nanomaterials, as well as the final products obtained. Finally, ITENE will participate in the general tasks of communication, dissemination and exploitation.
BIOMAC offers a network of 17 pilot lines covering the entire value chain, from biomass to plastic-based end products, and offers complementary services. Through an open call that was announced in an event organised by ITENE on 6 March 2023, five proposals will be selected at European level that will be able to access the OITB services free of charge.