Safe and sustainable substitutes

Safe and Sustainable Substitutes for Substances of very High Concern

The demand for safe, biobased and biodegradable alternatives to substances of very high concern (SVHC) is rapidly increasing. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops fully-fledged alternatives based on biomass that are harmless to humans and the environment.

Society and industry require safe alternatives for ‘substances of very high concern’. End users ask for substances without risks for people and the environment, and the EU is actively encouraging a reduction in the use of SVHC. Examples include perfluoroalkylsubstances (PFAS), halogenated flame retardants, phthalate based plasticisers, specific organic solvents like N-methyl pyrrolidone (NMP), bis-phenol-A in various applications and plastic microbeads in cosmetics.

New green routes

Together with industrial partners, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research develops alternative chemicals for SVHC that can be produced sustainably from biomass and are safe by design. Leveraging on our knowledge, expertise and research facilities, we develop new green routes which offer companies promising options for replacing SVHC. We are also active in the synthesis, chemical characterisation and evaluation of alternative chemicals. In addition to screening the technical functionalities, we also identify potential harmful effects at an early stage together with third parties or other institutes within Wageningen University & Research.

From isocyanate- and phthalate-free systems to alternatives for PFAS and titanium dioxide (TiO2) pigments

Technology for sustainable chemicals that are safe for producers, employees and consumers is developed in various projects:

  • In the framework of the ‘Magic’, ‘Biofirst’ and ‘DREAMS’ projects, we develop isocyanate-free two-component systems for fixation of e.g. embedded railway systems. The ambition is to substitute petrochemical polyurethane-based systems by biobased systems using non-hazardous components. The EU-funded (BioBased Industries) ‘CHAMPION’ project aims at developing new technologies for a variety of resins and coatings, making these products more readily recyclable and degradable.
  • In the project ‘Biobased Plasticisers from Agricultural (side) Streams’, we develop biobased alternatives to phthalate plasticisers in products such as PVC, sealants and cosmetics.
  • In the project ‘Renewable Pigments Based on Carbohydrates and Agro Residues’, we develop – in close cooperation with Wageningen University – renewable “photonic pigments” as alternatives to titanium dioxide (suspect of being carcinogenic in certain powder grades). Titanium dioxide is the most widely used white pigment in products like paints, coatings, paper, and HPC products.
  • In the project ‘Safe and Sustainable by Design’, funded by the Dutch ‘Nationale Wetenschapsagenda’ programme (NWA), tools will be developed to guide the selection of alternatives that fulfil the desired and essential function in a given application, including alternatives to PFAS.

Change is possible

There are many options available to replace the long list of SVHC with safe, biobased and biodegradable alternatives. Together with Wageningen Food & Biobased Research, change is possible.

Want to know more?

Like to know more about the possibilities? Contact us for an exploratory interview and we will be delighted to discuss the options with you.