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The Fustarise Project: Aimplas employs mechanochemistry techniques to turn plant waste into packaging

#The Fustarise Project: Aimplas employs mechanochemistry techniques to turn plant waste into packaging

08 Feb 2024 — Aimplas is spearheading the Fustarise Project, to tackle lignocellulosic waste from agriculture and forestry by using solvent-free mechanochemical techniques to give the waste a second life in the form of sustainable bio-based products such as capsules and adhesives.

Aimplas details that the large volume of plant waste generated in the agri-food, wood and furniture sectors poses environmental and health hazards when disposed of through conventional methods like landfilling.

The Fustarise Project is backed by Instituto Valenciano de la Competitividad Empresarial (IVACE) financing under the European Regional Development Fund. In collaboration with companies like Miarco, Lisart and La Unió Llauradora i Ramadera, it seeks to address this challenge by utilizing mechanochemical processes to transform the waste into bio-based products such as capsules and adhesives.

Miarco specializes in adhesive and abrasive products, Lisart works on food-contact paper and packaging and La Unió Llauradora i Ramadera represents more than 20,000 farmers and livestock breeders in the Valencian community.

“Thanks to this IVACE-funded project, we can move toward a circular economy based on waste lignocellulosic materials that can form part of the industrial context of the Valencian Community,” explains Giacomo Marra, researcher in Mechanochemistry and Reactive Extrusion at Aimplas.

“Efficient and sustainable recovery of the lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose contained in this waste enables us to obtain high value-added products that can be exported to the market as biosustainable and eco-sustainable alternatives, thus reducing the environmental impact.”

“Oldest science used by humanity”
Mechanochemistry offers a cleaner and more sustainable approach compared to traditional industrial processes, says Aimplas. “Mechanochemistry is one of the oldest sciences used by humanity. As can be deduced from the name, it is based on the concept that mechanical energy exerted on a material produces chemical transformations and brings physical changes to it.”

The project aims to optimize and scale up mechanochemical treatment processes, ensuring efficient lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose recovery from plant waste. These recovered biopolymers will then be utilized to manufacture various high-value products.

Marra highlights the innovative nature of solvent-free waste recovery, which reduces reliance on traditional disposal methods and presents eco-friendly alternatives to petroleum-based products.

“The recovery of lignocellulosic waste using solvent-free methods is an innovative approach. Applying cleaner techniques is a promising alternative that can reduce dependence on traditional disposal methods and promote long-term competitiveness and sustainability.”

“Moreover, developing innovative products from this waste can replace conventional petroleum-based approaches, reduce dependence on fossil fuels and promote a more sustainable future,” he concludes.

Edited by Radhika Sikaria

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