Cologne center of gravity of the innovative bio-based materials

Michael Carus, Ceo of nova-Institut, with the representatives of the three companies awarded in Cologne. Copyright: nova-Institut

Last Tuesday in Cologne, at the 9th International Conference on Bio-based Materials organized by the nova-Institut, the Innovation Award “Bio-based Material of the Year 2016” was awarded to three innovative materials in suitable applications. The competition focused on new developments in the bio-based economy, which have had (or will have) a market launch in 2015 or 2016.

Orineo BVBA (BE): Touch of Nature™ – Filled bio-based resin for stimulating biomaterials

Orineo has developed a new range of biomaterials based on the 80% waste of your cup of coffee, coffee grounds. The biomaterials are designed for a 20 years’ lifetime. Plenty of time for nature to replenish the feedstock! And it does not stop here. Branded as Touch of Nature™, these materials look good, feel good and perform well. One more step? Same story with used cork stoppers, berry seeds, olive leaves, to obtain a range of colours and patterns based on nature. It’s now commercial: liquid bio-based formulations for seamless floors, table and furniture surface based on these sidestreams.

Evonik Nutrition & Care GmbH (DE): REWOFERM® SL 446 – Novel sophorolipid-type biosurfactant

REWOFERM® SL 446 is a novel sophorolipid-type biosurfactant. It is made by fermentation with a natural, non-GMO yeast using European sourced sugar and oil feedstock. Due to its environmentally benign production process, REWOFERM® SL 446 has a low carbon footprint and a Renewable Carbon Index (RCI) of 100%. It exhibits an excellent toxicological and eco-toxicological profile and is completely biodegradable. It is compliant with EU Ecolabel requirements. It also behaves as a super-mild surfactant to the skin. Replacement of petro-based surfactants by REWOFERM® SL 446 boosts the foaming and the grease removal efficiency in hand dish wash formulations. Thus, it is possible to increase both the performance and the ecological footprint of your cleaning formulations.

Covestro Deutschland AG (DE): Impranil®eco – Bio-based waterborne polyurethane dispersions for textile coatings

Sustainability has an increasing impact on the product and raw-material purchasing decisions of consumers and brand owners. Covestro has developed a technology to raise the content of renewable resources in polyurethane dispersions (PUDs) up to 65%. This makes new levels of sustainability possible for PU synthetic materials (footwear, garment, accessories…). Thanks to this development, it is now possible to produce coated textiles with high performance and low content of fossil-based raw materials in each layer. The key benefits are: 43% – 65% renewable carbon content, not in direct competition with the food chain; can be used in every layer of the production of synthetic materials or coated textiles; drop-in of existing Impranil® PUD types, i.e. low reformulation efforts.

The “International Conference on Bio-based Materials” is a well established meeting point for companies working in the field of bio-based chemicals and materials. Two hundreds participants, mainly from the industry and representing 25 countries, met in Cologne to discuss the latest developments in the sector. Twenty-four companies presented their products and services at the exhibition.

The discussions showed unexpected impacts of the low oil prices and a less favourable political framework on the bio-based economy: bio-based drop-in chemical commodities fade more and more from the spotlight. On the other hand, special bio-based fine chemicals and materials for end products are more attractive than ever. Because of their new functionalities and properties, they are not in direct competition with conventional petrochemical products. This will enable them to conquer the market without the need for strong support simply because they have a lot to offer – to the industry and to the consumer. Worldwide substantial investments are being made in this sector with high added value and strong market growth.

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