Open-Bio: EU-research into standards for biobased products
Commissioned by the EU, Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research is performing pre-normative research into standards for biobased products. Using laboratory research and its knowledge and experience with biobased products, Food & Biobased Research and project coordinator NEN are looking into the demand for specific labelling for and consumer information on biobased products.
The project includes a total of 14 European research institutes and companies. Food & Biobased Research is performing specific research into quality requirements for biobased products based on laboratory tests into specific functional characteristics such as strength, flexibility, permeability, recyclability and organic degradability.
Complete package of standards
The research is a follow-up to the KBBPPS project, in which Food & Biobased Research also made a major contribution. In this new project the analytical methods developed in KBBPPS to determine the biobased content are being supplemented with indirect methods; for instance specific measurements serve to check the administrative proof of the biobased origin of products. In addition, test methods for determining the degradability of bio-lubricants in soil and water are supplemented with other biodegradability tests. The standard test methods that will be developed focus, among other characteristics, on the degree in which a product degrades in the ocean, its compostability and the possibilities for conversion into biogas (anaerobic digestion). This allows biobased products to be compared to other products with regard to sustainability and also enables policy development.
Communication on the characteristics and applications of biobased products is another key goal of the project. Open-Bio looks into communication with businesses, authorities and consumers. The aim is to develop guidelines for labelling biobased products and the product information provided with these products. Research is being performed in eight European member states into the acceptance of biobased products and demands for communication involving biobased products. The results should lead to standards and policy regulations at a European level.
The project involves various knowledge and research institutes, such as the ECN, FBR and LEI in the Netherlands, the French CNRS, the German nova-Institut, and the universities of Athens, Berlin and York. Additionally, the project consortium comprises various companies from Europe and further afield. With this wide range of partners, Open-Bio aims to realise a global alignment of test methods and standards. To support this goal, various stakeholder workshops will be organised in the coming years.