There is a growing appreciation that resource management needs to be improved nationally, regionally and globally, and the waste and pollution needs to be reduced. Surplus natural renewable resources have great potential to be tapped as a source for biodegradable products that could replace many of the existing hazardous chemicals, but this implies a need for a radical technology shift to be adopted by the chemical industry. Green chemistry aims to initiate a paradigm shift in the chemical industry from being based on fossil resources to renewable raw materials for manufacture of “green" chemicals.
Biomasses are used in the manufacture of bioplastic materials, surfactants and chemicals for pharmaceutical compounds. The term bioplastics is today used for a family of materials which differ from conventional plastics since they are biodegradable and compostable.
The term biodegradable refers to a chemical process during micro-organisms available in the environment convert bioplastics in water and carbon dioxide. Bioplastics are used in many industrial application such as the production of bottles, film, shopping bags etc.
There are two major advantages of bioplastics compared to their conventional plastics: they save fossil resources by using biomass which regenerates (annually) and providing the unique potential of carbon neutrality. Furthermore, biodegradability is an add-on property, which offers additional means of recovery at the end of a product’s life.
The main innovative aspect of BiMoP project is the demonstration of the feasibility for monomer/oligomer production based on the Itaconic acid (IA) derivatives produced by biofermentation of sugar beet are cheaper alternative substrates not involving the use of harmful chemicals or possible dispersion of polluting chemical compounds.
IA-based monomers and polymers are used to produce bio-based adhesives, inks and paints to ensure that the most common bioplastics used for food-packaging, such as polylactic acid (PLA), maintain the biodegradable and compostable properties required by the EU standard EN 13432.