Looking for a specific product?

Make a search for products & suppliers, articles & news.

Creating the plastics packaging of tomorrow out of wood

A wood fibre only 100 nanometres thick will help to give us tomorrow’s plastic food packaging, if SINTEF and its partners are successful.

Facts

The total budget of the NanoBarrier project is €9.9 million, of which €7.2 million comes from the European Union. The project currently has 15 participants, of which six are industrial companies, including packaging manufacturers from Greece (Argo), Portugal (Logoplaste) and Sweden (Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget – SCA). Norwegian Borregaard is contributing microfilbillated cellulose – MFC to the project, which is due to start in March this year.

Cellulose can be broken down into what is called microfibrillated cellulose. MFC consists of plant fibres that are only 100 nanometres in diameter, but can be extremely long, making them highly suitable as a reinforcement material for biodegradable plastics. MFC membranes have also been shown to be impermeable to gases such as oxygen and can therefore be used to protect foodstuffs.


Climate-friendly alternative
Most of today’s plastics are petroleum-based, but scientists are now trying to create a climate-friendly alternative to plastics from renewable resources; bioplastic and MFC.


“Bioplastics can make a contribution to sustainable development. Our aim is to develop materials and packaging that will add as little as possible to our environmental footprint, and ideally, will be climate-neutral. In any case, as the oil runs down we are going to need alternative raw materials,” says the project manager, senior scientist Åge Larsen of SINTEF.


Larsen finds that winning political understanding for climate mitigation measures is heavy going. “But if we can demonstrate that there good alternatives to petroleum-based products, I can imagine that this could help to bring in such measures a bit faster.”


 “But couldn’t recycling plastic do such the same thing?”
“Recycling is useful, but in practice, recycled plastics often end up a step or two lower down the quality ladder than the original raw material. This is why we believe that MFC fibrils in combination with bioplastics will help us produce high-quality, environmentally friendly packaging in the form of products such as bottles, jars and plastic foil.”


Food that keeps better
SINTEF has worked before on barrier properties of food packaging, making use of nanotechnology to improve the shelf life of foods by limiting their exposure to oxygen. This previous experience will benefit the new project, which includes no fewer than 15 Norwegian and foreign participants from industry and the university sector.


 The background of the project is that the European Union has an ambition to make the people of Europe healthier by offering them more fish and seafood. Packaging that prolongs the shelf life of food can help to persuade more consumers to choose healthier alternatives and at the same time, reduce food waste. In Norway, Borregaard is one of the main suppliers involved in the project, as the company produces the fibrils that will make bioplasctic impermeable to oxygen.


Hans Henrik Øvrebø is in charge of technology development at Borregaard, and he is certain that microfibrillated cellulose is a very promising raw material.


 “Borregaard is putting a lot of R & D effort into applications of microfibrillated cellulose. Participation in this project will give us valuable insight into the properties of this special type of plant fibre, and how it can be used in plastic products that are impermeable to gases. We think that in the long run, MFC could be used in several of our new products. At the moment, we are in the process of reconfiguring one of our pilot plants in Sarpsborg to produce this type of cellulose.”
The first phase of the project will look at methods and a range of possibilities. Work on the first prototype is expected to get under way in a couple of years.

Related news

Latest news

Biggest feed barge delivery ever

At the shipyard in Gdynia Poland, 7 feed barges were recently loaded onboard the vessel Jumbo Vision. The barges are destined for Canada and will be operational this summer. 

Max Planck and CMR cooperation

Scientists at Christian Michelsen Research are currently developing, together with colleagues from the Max Planck Institute for Iron Research (Germany), the Field Kelvin Probe (FKP). This FKP will enable contactless detect...

Consilium equips 48 buildings in Galway, Ireland, with lifesaving panels

Consilium Building Safety has received a strategical order from our Irish distributor...

CADCAM options for the open-minded

“Naval architects log into the Vestdavit digital library and can download exactly what they need within a couple of minutes,

DNV GL COMPIT Award 2017 for smart underwater robotics

Marco Bibuli was announced as the winner of the DNV GL COMPIT Award 2017, which took place in Cardiff this year. The Italian maritime robotics expert, working at the Italian research centre CNR-ISSIA in Genova, was honoure...

Record Number Applications for the Innovation Award!

A total of 28 applications for the Nor-Fishing Foundation Innovation Award, – which includes a check for NOK 100 000 – has been received by the deadline the 1st of May. This represents a 36% increase from record year ...

Midt-Norsk Havbruk and Plastsveis enter into agreement to build smolt facility

“We have followed the development of technology for smolt production carefully for several years,

DNV GL launches on-demand, web-based forecasting at WindPower 2017

Energy traders and plant operators gain online access to hourly forecast data at plant and regional level...

International Quality Awards announced

The Chartered Quality Institute (CQI) launches a series of quality awards designed to recognize the contribution of quality professionals across the globe.