Processing of Bioplastics – A Summary
The "Processing bioplastics" project has produced extensive data after five years. It is the first project of this kind to be funded by the German Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (Bundesministerium für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft, BMEL) via its project agency, the Agency for Renewable Resources (Fachagentur Nachwachsende Rohstoffe e.V., FNR). The event focused on the cooperation between industry and research accompanied by an extensive transfer of the project network's results into practice. "Ultimately, it was this requirement that led to the idea of a database among the partners", says Prof. Hans-Josef Endres from the Institute of Bioplastics and Biocomposites (IfBB) at the Hochschule Hannover and project leader of the network. "It was important to us to prepare the data in a user-friendly, clear, structured, quickly accessible and understandable way, and to link the user in one place to the right contact persons, the competence network partners. In the meantime, the data has been transferred to the Material Data Center and hence into one of the most internationally renowned databases on plastics."
At the closing event, Dr. Erwin Baur from M-Base Engineering + Software and the operator of the Material Data Center explained how important it is as a material manufacturer to provide its customers with data for processing the innovative bioplastics. "It's no longer enough to pass on just two numbers, the company telephone number and the price, to product manufacturers. If we actually want to noticeably increase the market for bioplastics and continue to pave the way, this can only be achieved together with the material manufacturers in the long term. What is common for conventional plastics must also be established for bioplastics." Bioplastics are still a "speciality", which is why usually there is still a substantial need for training and consulting, as well as more intensive technical support for customers in many cases.
This makes it all the more important for the BMEL to guarantee that the results will continue to exist, be updated and be expanded after five years of funding. "Only in this way can we come one step closer to the goal of the Federal Government to expand the bioeconomy", says Dr. Hans-Jürgen Froese of the BMEL, summarising his view that consumers must be kept informed along the way. The consumers' concerns and queries require clear and comprehensible communication, which must be accompanied by factual information such as life cycle assessments or life cycle analyses.