Bioplastics Made from Paper Waste
Aimplas Finishes European Project Brigit
The Plastics Technology Centre Aimplas, Valencia, Spain, has coordinated the project Brigit to produce biodegradable and flame-retardant bioplastics that will be installed in trucks and buses as panels. The project covered the resulting biopolymers, the formulation of fire-resistant biocomposites, the manufacturing of panels, and the verification of its economic and environmental viability.
Aimplas has finished the European project Brigit after 48 months of research. In the project, 15 partners including the University of Cantabria and the Spanish company Green Source S.A. worked together to obtain a new generation of fire-resistant panels for trucks and buses manufactured from biopolymers derived from by-products from the cellulose production for the paper industry.
The project Brigit (Seventh Framework Programme grant agreement no KBBE-2012-6-311935) began in August 2012. During its run, different subjects had to be tackled, from the obtaining of biopolymers, their formulation and modification to improve the fire behavior to the processing of the resulting biocomposites for panel manufacturing, which were installed inside trucks and buses from Solaris and Fiat. Moreover, the economic and environmental viability of the new products has been validated.
In order to get these innovative panels, the partners of the project developed a new process to obtain bioplastics, in particular PHB (polyhydroxybutyrate) and PBS (polybutylene succinate), that are more ecologic than the existing ones. They are obtained from by-products from the cellulose production. By means of compounding techniques, Aimplas mixed and modified both biopolymers to obtain a biocomposite with strict requirements. It is a processable material by means of extrusion, with the mechanical and fire resistance that the transports industry demands, but with the advantage of being fully biodegradable and also compostable after its grinding, in contrast with the thermosetting resins currently used.
The multilayer panels formed by biocomposite sheets and natural fibers (replacing the usual glass fiber) and a light cork core inside have been manufactured by means of continuous compression molding. In addition to being installed inside trucks and buses as columns and side panels, these 3D panels could be also used in trains, ships, vans and other means of transport of goods and people.