SUCCIPACK will develop food packaging materials based on green PBS that can be used by the packaging and the food industry. It will respond to the increasing consumers concern on environmental issues and answer their demand for safe food products.

Polybutylene succinate (PBS) is expected to become an important source of bio-based material for food packaging in the coming years. PBS is produced with monomers obtained by bacterial fermentation: succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol that can be synthesized from succinic acid. The annual production capacity of bio-based succinic acid is expected to reach 200.000 tons by 2015.

Main characteristics of PBS

Thermomechanical properties
PBS is a rubbery (soft) semi crystalline polymer with a glass transition temperature (Tg) around -30°C. These characteristics locate PBS between Polyethylene (Tg -120°C) and polypropylene (Tg -10°C). With a melting point at 110°C, PBS can be considered as a standard thermoplastic which can be used in a large range of applications between -20 and 100°C. The cristallinity and the semi polar structure confer a good rigidity to this soft polyester. The high crystallisation rate allows high speed industrial processes, as it is the case for polypropylene. From a thermomechanical point of vue PBS is close to polyolefins and very far from PLA.

Gas transfer
PBS oxygen transmission rate is close to the one of PLA. PBS is considered as a middle oxygen barrier, and a middle/poor water barrier. Compared to polyolefins, which show bad oxygen barrier and good water barrier, PBS is drastically different; it can be globally considered close to PLA.

Sensitivity to hydrolysis
Degradable soft polyesters such as fossil based PBS have been primarily designed for biocompostability or natural biodegradation at end of life. In that scope, the sensitivity of polyesters to hydrolysis was not an issue. In the situation of soft polyester introduction in packaging market the case is obviously different and adapted solutions of polymer stabilization must be developed.

A sustainable packaging material

A sustainable packaging is a packaging with reduced impact on the environment due to its low carbon footprint.

The production of succinic acid has a reduced impact on the environment for two main reasons:
(1) It is obtained from glucose fermentation originating from bio sources such as wheat, maize and beets. Its environmental performance will improve in the coming years with the introduction of second generation glucose from lignocellulosic resources.
(2) The environmental performance is improved compared to lactic acid by the fact that its synthesis involves the consumption of atmospheric CO2: the production of succinic acid has a lower carbon footprint than lactic acid.

Safe packaging

New packaging material needs to guarantee food safety and quality: it should contribute to the microbiological stability of the food, maintain organoleptic and nutritional qualities of the food and prevent migrations from the packaging materials to the food.

SUCCIPACK will address these requirements by:
(1) Developing materials with controlled barrier and permeation properties,
(2) Evaluating its aroma scalping behaviour,
(3) Investigating PBS migration behaviour with the adaption of predictive tools to PBS transfer modelling and,
(4) Monitoring microbiological and quality indicators in different foods produced packaged with the PBS materials.

The PBS packaging material will be developed in close cooperation with industrial partners including four SMEs

ARD is a private research structure owned by major players in French agribusiness as well as regional farming cooperatives. It was created in 1989 to find new opportunities for its shareholders' products (cereals, sugar beet, oilseeds, etc.). ARD has developed expertise in plant fractionation and bio-refining, white biotechnology, bio-based chemistry and agro-materials & environment. Its chemistry department is specialised in the design of products (surface active molecules, solvents, polymers, materials, etc.) and processes according to the principles of green chemistry and sustainable development, using organic matter.

Philippe Aubry

TopChim is an established research-driven chemical company, specializing in paper and card board coating technology, based in Belgium and Brazil, operating in Europe and Latin America. The company applies the latest technologies in chemical science to develop high-performance ecological coating solutions for the paper and cardboard industry. TopChim has recently developed and scaled up to industrial production a coating process to improve water resistance and water barrier properties for paper and card board. This process will be adapted to PBS packaging applications.

Leo Vonck

Natureplast company has been created in December 2006 and is specialized in bioplastics trading all around the world and R&D with its daughter company Biopolynov.
Natureplast’s activity is to support its customers in their development of bioplastics. The company provides raw materials and additives as well as services (project engineering, technical support, technical survey and training).

Guillaume Lebouteiller

Leygatech is a French SME with around 120 employees. Its main activity is the production of blown extruded film for the packaging market. Leygatech uses a wide range of polymers such as PE, PS, EVOH, EVA, PA. The company has a good technical know-how concerning multilayer extrusion technology permitting development and production of films with a wide range of functional properties.

Jean Matthieu Brouillat  

Created in 1973, Velfor is an SME operating in sectors using the thermoforming process and flexible materials: packaging (plastic materials), industrial parts (thermoformed technical parts),  medical field (flexible bags and thermoformed specific wedging). Velfor produce trays with sealed, breakable and peel-off tops for the food industry.:

Angélique Brun

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement No.289196
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