Motivation and challenges
Worldwide governments and the general public have become aware of the need to replace plastic packaging by more sustainable products. For tableware this has already resulted in legal bans. For light weight packaging products a real shift to paper based materials is taking place. In the market of heavier electronic devices, housekeeping appliances or packaging of e.g. garden furniture, there is the need for a light thick bio-based material with an acceptable price that can replace commonly used oil based plastic foams and that could be recycled with paper.
In this project, PaperFoam bv, Paxpring bv en Bewi Synbra Group collaborate with Wageningen Food & Biobased Research to develop (a new technology for the production of) thick-walled starch based packaging materials. This new packaging material will be a green alternative for current oil based materials used for heavy products.
The project involves exploring different existent and new techniques to produce thick walled starch based foamed products. Products produced will be compared and the best technique will be chosen to be optimized, produced and tested on pilot scale by a customer. The deliverable of the project is a pilot scale production of a thick walled starch based (paper recyclable) foamed product.
Till now, three different routes to produce thick walled starch based foamed materials have been explored, two of them imply batch processing and the other one involves a continuous process. With two of the explored techniques, 2 cm thick products with different shapes and properties have been obtained in potentially up-scalable processes.
Ongoing activities concern optimization and testing of the different formulations and technologies for two of the chosen routes.