The EcoBioCAP project has been thought and built based on three main rationales:
BIODEGRADABLE MATERIALS CONSTRAINTS:
Performance versus environmental & financial cost: challenge not yet solved
High performance & high cost chemical/microbial engineered bio-polyesters versus unstable & sensitive but low cost extractable vegetal polymers
Smart formulation by combining complementary components derived from by-products only in structures allowing each components to play its assigned role.
Optimization strategies and continuum scale studies of materials structuring processes
This first one is that the challenge and competition between on one hand: high performance and high cost biopolyesters and on the other hand: sensitive but low cost vegetal polymers, is still raging.
EcoBioCAP aims at reconciliating this competition by developing smart combination of these polymers using optimization strategies and continuum scale studies.
Lack of approaches combining food requirements & materials development aimed at implementing food-packaging systems into integrated food chain concepts. Overdimensioning, overpackaging.
Integrated design of tailor-made biodegradable materials driven by both food quality and safety requirements in addition to stakeholders requirements (logistic, cost and environmental issues).
Targeted applications in order to maximise the chance of success of biodegradable materials whose drawbacks could be turned into advantages of specific functional properties
The second statement of facts is the lack of approach combining food and materials development. EcoBioCAP is therefore focused on integrated design of tailor made materials for well targeted applications
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIETAL PROBLEMS:
Competition between food and non food usages (noble organic raw materials),
Controversial environmental claims: high energy consumption for transport and production, industrial biocompostability, put in jeopardy others efficient waste treatments of high performance material such as PET recycling.
Environmental & societal impacts early included in the reasoning (integrated approach)
Food industry by-products widely available in Europe, limited transport, local transformation, low cost
Ecoefficient production of components and finished materials
Targeted applications to hardly recyclable materials without negative interference with existing efficient waste management systems
The last point is the numerous controversies on environmental and societal impact of biodegradable materials, such as for example the use of noble food resources, high energy consumption, the confusing claims on biodegradability when it is only an industrial biocompostability or the disruption of for example PET recycling by materials such as PLA.
EcoBioCAP will make efforts to early include environmental and societal impacts in the reasoning. Only food industry by-products locally available will be used and transformed using ecoefficent processing for targeted appliocations to hardly recyclable packaging.