LIFE Project Cover Photo

DEMONSTRATION-PLANT PROJECT TO PRODUCE POLY-LACTIC ACID (PLA) BIOPOLYMER FROM WASTE PRODUCTS OF BAKERY INDUSTRY

Reference: LIFE10 ENV/ES/000479 | Acronym: BREAD4PLA

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

BACKGROUND

About 8-9% of fossil fuels consumed in the EU are used as raw material in various industrial processes. About half of this amount is used in the manufacture of polymers. Fossilised carbon is therefore transformed into products that may, at the end of their useful life, release this carbon into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change. As an alternative or complement to petroleum-based polymers, a series of biopolymers or bioplastics have been developed from natural sources (e.g. wheat, corn and sugarcane); these have environmental benefits, through reduced greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy consumption, economic benefits as alternatives to expensive petroleum products, and reduce reliance on fossil fuels. The European bakery sector produces 3.5 million tonnes of retrodegradated starch waste with minimal nutritional value every year. At least 5% of this waste is disposed of in landfill because there is currently no alternative use.


OBJECTIVES

The main objective of the BREAD4PLA project was to demonstrate the technical and economic viability of using waste products from the bakery sector in the fabrication of a 100% biodegradable plastic film. The project aimed to establish and operate a pilot plant at pre-industrial scale for the synthesis of poly-lactic acid (PLA) from bakery waste products, using a low-energy process with water-based enzymes. The project also aimed to demonstrate practical uses for this PLA as a thermoplastic packaging film that meets current requirements and standards.


RESULTS

The BREAD4PLA project proved that bakery waste is a suitable raw material for compostable plastic packaging. This was done through an analysis of all stages, from the selection and characterisation of bakery waste, enzymatic fermentation, PLA polymerisation and plastics processing pathways, including the use of additives such as thermal stabilisers to avoid PLA molecular degradation, and the production of sheets of packaging material. The project demonstrated this at the pilot-plant scale. Each stage is crucial for the next, so constant feedback between the four specialist partners (AIMPLAS, ATB, University of Bangor and CETECE) was crucial for the project?s success.

From the technical point of view, the main achievement was the demonstration of the packaging production process, followed by its validation using different types of bakery and pastry waste as raw material. The main innovation was the demonstration of the use of bakery waste as a novel raw material to produce PLA packaging, and showing that the product had the same performance as PLA packaging produced from cereals - while also addressing the problem of food waste disposal. Validation tests with different bakery products showed that the packaging developed from bakery waste has a good performance for use within the bakery sector.

Replicability can be considered viable as this type of waste is available in all European countries, and the project?s result suggest that a scale-up to industrial level would succeed with the corresponding optimisation in terms of cost reductions. Specifically, Germany and the UK generate the largest amounts of this type of waste in Europe, which makes them candidate countries for initiating the project results at industrial scale. The main constraint on industrial transferability is the investments required to create the corresponding lactic acid/PLA production plants in Europe, which are currently lacking. However, the economic analysis performed in the project demonstrated the potential viability of medium-scale production plants that used industrial waste generated by nearby baking companies. This would require the collection of large amounts of bakery waste from different producers to assure a constant supply, so preservation and transport costs, as well as a guarantee of homogeneous raw material, need to be considered. The project defined a protocol for the preservation of waste, from collection, through transport, to lactic acid production plant.

The project partners found that companies generating different types of food waste (e.g. fruit and vegetables) would also be interested in collaborating to use their waste to produce biodegradThe BREAD4PLA project proved that bakery waste is a suitable raw material for compostable plastic packaging. This was done through an analysis of all stages, from the selection and characterisation of bakery waste, enzymatic fermentation, PLA polymerisation and plastics processing pathways, including the use of additives such as thermal stabilisers to avoid PLA molecular degradation, and the production of sheets of packaging material. The project demonstrated this at the pilot-plant scale. Each stage is crucial for the next, so constant feedback between the four specialist partners (AIMPLAS, ATB, University of Bangor and CETECE) was crucial for the project?s success.

From the technical point of view, the main achievement was the demonstration of the packaging production process, followed by its validation using different types of bakery and pastry waste as raw material. The main innovation was the demonstration of the use of bakery waste as a novel raw material to produce PLA packaging, and showing that the product had the same performance as PLA packaging produced from cereals - while also addressing the problem of food waste disposal. Validation tests with different bakery products showed that the packaging developed from bakery waste has a good performance for use within the bakery sector.

Replicability can be considered viable as this type of waste is available in all European countries, and the project?s result suggest that a scale-up to industrial level would succeed with the corresponding optimisation in terms of cost reductions. Specifically, Germany and the UK generate the largest amounts of this type of waste in Europe, which makes them candidate countries for initiating the project results at industrial scale. The main constraint on industrial transferability is the investments required to create the corresponding lactic acid/PLA production plants in Europe, which are currently lacking. However, the economic analysis performed in the project demonstrated the potential viability of medium-scale production plants that used industrial waste generated by nearby baking companies. This would require the collection of large amounts of bakery waste from different producers to assure a constant supply, so preservation and transport costs, as well as a guarantee of homogeneous raw material, need to be considered. The project defined a protocol for the preservation of waste, from collection, through transport, to lactic acid production plant.

The project partners found that companies generating different types of food waste (e.g. fruit and vegetables) would also be interested in collaborating to use their waste to produce biodegrad

ADMINISTRATIVE DATA


Reference: LIFE10 ENV/ES/000479
Acronym: BREAD4PLA
Start Date: 01/10/2011
End Date: 30/09/2014
Total Budget: 1,116,526 €
EU Contribution: 488,869 €
Project Location:
Project Website:

CONTACT DETAILS


Coordinating Beneficiary: Asociación de Investigación deMateriales Plásticos y Conexas
Legal Status: PNC
Address: Calle Gustave Eiffel-4, Parque Tecnológico51, 46980, Paterna (Valencia),
Contact Person: Raquel GINER BORRULL
Email: proyectos@aimplas.es
Tel: +34 96 136 60 40
Fax: + 34 96 136 60 41


LIFE Project Map

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ADDRESSED

THEMES

  • Food and Beverages
  • Waste use

KEYWORDS

  • water reuse
  • packaging
  • greenhouse gas
  • by-product

BENEFICIARIES

Name Type
Asociación de Investigación deMateriales Plásticos y Conexas Coordinator
Cereal Technology Center (CETECE), Spain Participant
Leibniz-Institut für Agrartechnik Potsdam-Bornim e.V., Germany Participant
The Fundación Comunidad Valenciana-Región Europea (FCVRE), Spain Participant
The BioComposites Centre-Bangor University, United Kingdom Participant

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