The overall objective of EcoBioCAP is to provide the EU food industry with customizable, ecoefficient, biodegradable packaging solutions with direct benefits both for the environment and EU consumers in terms of food quality and safety.
To achieve this overall objective EcoBioCAP will:
- Carry out a strategic analysis of stakeholders requirements in terms of food quality and safety (WP1), but also cost, technical and environmental impact, in order to provide the right inputs to the further steps of the project, with the development of modelling and decision support tools.
- Produce, select and characterise constituents issued from food industry by-products, to be used to develop finalised packaging materials, based on these requirements (WP2);
- Develop a variety of optimized multilayer composite materials for flexible and semi-rigid (trays) biodegradable packaging with barriers and respiring properties to fulfill the requirements of the targeted food types (WP3);
- Investigate the key issues of physico-chemical and microbial stability and safety of the developed packaging materials. (WP4);
- Evaluate the environmental impact of the EcoBioCAP packaging across the full life-cycle (WP5);
- Assess the up-scalability of the packaging solutions developed at lab scale; assess the efficacy of packaging prototypes in preserving food quality and safety and optimise the EcoBioCAP packaging technology via industrial pilots in preparation for full exploitation (WP6).
Scientific and technological objectives:
At a Scientific level the objectives are to:
- Characterize and understand the behaviour of the biodegradable constituents obtained from by-products: biopolyester, fibres, polyphenolic components, proteins and high performance (nano) additives;
- Understand the food / packaging interactions when considering complex, (composite or multilayer) natural origin materials, with properties different from those of crude oil based polymers, in contact with food;
- Decipher the relationships between material structure at different scales (from molecular to macroscopic), the resulting functional properties and processing characteristics and limitations;
- Understand the molecular and structural bases underlying the stability, safety, and ecotoxicity of the developed biodegradable packaging materials.
At a technological level the objectives are to,
- Set up a “reverse engineering” method starting from food requirements (in terms of mass transfer), translate these requirements into material functional properties, and then finally material formulation and structure;
- Modify/optimize material structure based on the understanding of their behaviour and assess the overall value of conventional and novel technologies (such as high voltage spinning) in the generation of property balanced packaging materials and structures;
- Develop decision-support systems taking into account quantitative and non quantitative constraints such as machinability, consumer acceptance, food safety, carbon footprint, etc. This approach is intended to facilitate the design of biodegradable packaging based on a requirement-driven approach.
At an industrial level the objectives are to,
- Design tailored-made integrated pathways for converting food industry by-products into biodegradable packaging constituents integrating environmental and safety requirements such as carbon footprint, energy and water consumption, health impact, etc.
- Design fabrication processes for biodegradable complex (composite or multilayer) materials integrating environmental requirements such as carbon footprint, energy and water consumption, ecotoxicity, etc.
- Propose to the food industry ranges of biodegradable raw and finalised packaging materials meeting matching specific food requirements and in line with food contact material legislation.
- Add value to the agrobusiness industry by enabling exploitation of agricultural by-products without competing with food/feed usages.