Developing biobased coatings for metal packaging – Italian Pilot Plant update

As our pilot plant located in the North of Italy (at family run farm Chiesa) enters the final stages of construction, they now ready to start processing waste from tomatoes and cereals to produce biobased compounds such as lycopene, ferulic acid, cutin, and hydrocompost. These compounds will be used for applications in the food-packaging, food, chemical and agricultural sectors.

Recently the project partners have completed the first in a series of trials for developing a biobased coating for metal food packaging, formulated with cutin extracted from tomato peels the coating has the capacity to replace standard coating of petrochemical origin and will be BPA free.

The trial saw the delivery of a new piece of equipment which is essential in the separation of the intermediate products (solid and liquid) that will be treated further in two different processes. The solid will be collected and treated in another section of the plant in order to extract the lycopene. The liquid will be discharged into a downstream reactor to obtain another valuable component the Cutin.

The aim of the trial was to test the integration of the new item within the old section of the plant and evaluate the quality of the separation. First results show the performances are better than the expectations in terms of the quantity that can be treated and the efficiency of the separation.   

The biorefinery is adopting novel methods for coordinating and managing the provision of waste feedstocks to the pilot plant. The plants are designed to accept multiple feedstocks and an online stakeholder platform and will coordinate the provision of waste from many regional producers. This will help maximise the use of the pilot plants throughout the year and address seasonal and regional fluctuations, thereby maximising efficiency and profitability.

For further updates on the biorefineries keep an eye on our website and Twitter feed. If you are interested in converting your wastes or testing our products, please get in touch with us!