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Japanese Reaserchers' Identify Means for Mass Production of Bio-based Plastic Bottles

Food and Beverages | Friday, January 11, 2019

The growing concern about decreasing fossil resources and the consequences of global warming is driving the new bioeconomic growth. Bioplastics, biodegradable, or at least in part, bio-based thermoplastic biopolymers is one of the fastest growing markets. Many innovations in the fields of catalyse, biotechnology and plastics engineering have made this development possible. After years of concentrations on biodegradable plastics for niche use, this reflects a constant evolution in the bioplastic industry that is increasingly focused on producing sustainable, bio-based plastics. But, bio-based and biodegradable plastics markets will also remain fast-growing.

As a huge population in the society uses a massive amount of plastic bottles, the world is facing a big challenge in managing the harmful wastes. As a solution from this issue, a high yield furan-2.5 dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) synthesizing of glucose derivative from non-food cellulose has been discovered by researchers at the Japan-based Hokkaido University and the Netherlands-based Eindhoven University of Technology. The team said in a statement that a new finding will help to pave the way to substitute terephthalic acid derived from petroleum for bio-materials in applications with plastic bottles.

A research team led by Professor Kiyotaka Nacajima at the Universities of Hokkaido and Emiel J.M. Hensen at the Eindhoven University of Technology managed to reduce side effects and produce FDCA with a high return of concentrated HMF (10~20 wt percent) solutions without formation of by-products in the Angelate Chemie International Study. Especially, the formyl groups which are supported by product induction have been acetalized with HMF with 1,3-propanediol and then oxidized HMF-acetal. For subsequent reactions, approximately 80 percent of 1,3-propanediol used for protecting formyl groups may be reused. Dramatic improvement of the substrate level also reduces the number of solvents used in the manufacturing process.

According to the researchers, the results mark a major breakthrough over by eliminating the inherent limitation of HMF oxidation to a major monomer in biopolymer production. The control of the formyl group reactivity may open the doors to the production of sugar-based biomaterial commodity chemicals.

Finishing an advanced solution such as plastic bio-based bottles was a major innovation since its increased demand amongst people and in organizations can capture the future market to a large extent.

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