Key European and South American researchers join forces to develop second generation bioplastics, cellulose nanofibres and biocomposites

Updated: 2017-03-10 | Print

100% biobased materials from agro-industrial residues, addressing the bioeconomy of the future

Researchers from three European and three South American institutions met in Peru for aligning the strategy to develop second generation bioplastics and cellulose nanofibres from agro-forestry residual resources. This was part of the kick-off meeting of the Valbio-3D project, held at the Pontificial Catholic University of Peru (PUCP), during the 1st and 2nd of March. The ValBio-3D project will develop efficient technologies for production of sustainable and 100% biobased materials from agro-industrial residues, addressing the bioeconomy of the future.


Lima 2017

From left to right: Ian Vázquez (PUCP, Peru), Heli Kangas (VTT, Finland), Claudia Schirp (Fraunhofer, Germany), María Cristina Area (IMAM, Argentina),  Ramzy Kahhat (PUCP, Peru), Isabel Quispe (PUCP, Peru), Fernando Felissia (IMAM, Argentina), Mara Cea Lemus (UFRO, Chile), Gary Chinga Carrasco (PFI, Norway). Photo: ValBio-3D.

The ValBio-3D project is based on an international initiative that started in 2014 by colleagues from South America (IMAM) and Europe (PFI) to develop 100% biobased materials from agro-forestry resources, explains Maria Cristina Area, one of the initiators of this project. The proposal was submitted to ERANet-LAC, which offers funding for joint and interdisciplinary projects. We succeeded in 2016 to get the funding and start this promising project where we will generate the technology to obtain cellulose nanofibres and second generation bioplastics (biobased and biodegradable) from agro-forestry residues and for several purposes, including 3D printing, adds Gary Chinga Carrasco, the other initiator and motivator of this international cooperation. The two researchers worked hard to firstly form an excellent consortium with complementary competences, and secondly to elaborate a winning proposal, with the valuable contribution of the invited R&D and industrial partners. By the end of 2016 the applicants were notified of the positive outcome by ERANet-LAC and started the planning of the kick-off meeting in Lima.

It has been two intensive and hard-working days in Lima, where the strategy for the first year of the project was extensively discussed and established. The first day was arranged as a seminar, so each participant could have the opportunity to present their respective groups and competences. This provided a nice starting point for the further discussions and planning during the second day of the meeting. Each work package was revised and concrete activities were defined for each group. One part of the discussions focused on setting the framework and limits for the life-cycle assessments that will be performed by PUCP in Peru. This is important, as we need to consider and assess the sustainability of the feedstocks we are using, and the technology and processes we will develop.

By the end of the week, the group was very satisfied with the outcome of the meeting and the organization of the meeting by the Peruvian group, led by Isabel Quispe (PUCP). Each group got a concrete task to elaborate during the first year, extending from pulping of relevant agro-forestry residues to biotechnological approaches for bioplastic production and biocomposite manufacturing. The plan is promising and everyone is looking forward to the close interdisciplinary cooperation that has been established.

Contact: Gary Chinga Carrasco.