Tanja Weil travelled across half the globe in order to be able to start her new position as the head of the Institute of Organic Chemistry III Macromolecular Chemistry and Organic Materials at the University of Ulm on 1 May 2010. Prior to her current position the 36-year-old chemist was associate professor at the renowned National University of Singapore and is now trying to bridge her discipline with the disciplines of biology medicine and the materials sciences with research on biohybrid molecules.
Hanover-based well Ausstellungssystem GmbH sells environmentally-friendly wooden materials for furniture and booth construction, interior and product design and promotes its new wooden sheeting kraftplex® for use in high-tech innovations. Wellboard, the wooden composite in waves, is already being used in theatres, shop windows and museums.
In Baden-Württemberg biopolymers are becoming an important focus of interest. The “Biopolymer/Biomaterials Cluster” organised by BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH, addresses the development and processing of bioplastics.
BIOPRO Baden-Württemberg GmbH’s Biopolymers/Biomaterials Cluster was one of five clusters to come out top in the German BioIndustrie Competition in 2007. The BMBF will provide a total of 10 million euros in funding for the implementation of the proposal from 2007 to 2021.
At the recent Hanover Trade Fair several partners in the BiopolymersBiomaterials Cluster were awarded prizes. A project group which includes scientists from BASF SE and Daimler AG were awarded the Prize for Innovative Material Applications from the VDI Society for Materials Engineering. The bio-based ARBOFORM plastic of TECNARO GmbH of Ilsfeld-Auenstein was awarded the Industry Award from the Huber Verlag für Neue Medien.
Since the end of July 2008 the Biomaterials laboratory of the Empa in St. Gallen has been an official member of the BioLAGO BioRegion. We talked with Dr. Manfred Zinn about how the researchers find materials with the desired properties.
There was a varied programme for the participants of the Biopolymers/Biomaterials Cluster network conference. Speakers from a broad range of different sectors talked about innovative biomaterials as well as cluster development.
Prof. Dr. Christian Bonten has been head of the Institute for Polymer Technology IKT at the University of Stuttgart since 1st September 2010. The former Institute for Plastics Testing and Science has recently become part of the IKT and has therefore come under Bontens area of responsibility. Bonton believes that bioplastics have great future potential and he plans to set milestones to drive bioplastics development forward.
Based on the contract closed in 2011 several TECNARO compounds including Green PE from BRASKEM have been successfully introduced to the market. In Ilsfeld-Auenstein TECNARO GmbH, specialist for sustainable thermoplastic materials, closed a contract in 2011 with BRASKEM, the world market leader for bio-based polyolefins. TECNARO produces compounds with sugar cane based Green PE from BRASKEM in a special product line of the material family ARBOBLEND®.
The discussion relating to bioeconomy and biobased economy is broadening. But what do these terms actually mean? The “View on Biobased Economy – Bioeconomy” presentation theme at ACHEMA 2012 in Frankfurt has provided some answers. Several exhibitors presented industrial biotechnology product scenarios and provided information about current funding programmes and future funding calls.
GEHR Kunststoffwerk GmbH & Co. KG, founded in 1932 and owned by the Gehr family ever since, is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of semi-finished thermoplastics. The company’s headquarters are in Mannheim.
Bernhard Eikmanns prefers not to get involved in research that will end up on bookshelves. So it was an easy decision for the biologist to drop the research he was doing into bacteria that are difficult to cultivate during his doctoral studies and concentrate instead on Corynebacterium glutamicum, a bacterial species that is much easier to cultivate. Corynebacterium glutamicum is an excellent object for scientific research and industrial application. Industrial concerns use this irregularly rod-shaped soil bacterium to produce amino acids such as glutamic acid and lysine by fermentation at scales of several million tons at a time. Like the majority of the 20 amino acids required for the synthesis of proteins, L-glutamic acid and lysine are produced from intermediates of the glucose degradation pathway and the citric acid cycle.
The fischer group of companies is treading an innovative path in the field of plastics technology. The new biopolyamide plug has the same values as the tried and tested product made of conventional nylon and it also takes the technology a step further towards sustainable fixing systems. The close cooperation between the cluster partners is what makes such developments possible.
Marvel GmbH, based in Bad Teinach, has set itself the goal of combining innovative materials with sophisticated design and where safety, fire protection and acoustic properties go hand in hand with attractiveness, high-quality design and sustainability. The company uses its own innovative biomaterial called “Marvel Bioresin”.
In view of dwindling reserves of fossil resources, industry is showing growing interest in bioplastics. However, compared to conventional high-performance plastics, these have their limitations – among other things in terms of stability and strength. In cooperation with Tecnaro, Henkel has now succeeded in developing new high-performance polyamide additives based on renewable raw materials that can significantly improve the performance of bioplastics.
The dream that one day there will be zero victims due to traffic accidents was the reason the company Takata was initially set up. Takata has been focusing on saving human lives for over 75 years. The company is no longer exclusively active in safety technology but it now also develops plastics from renewable resources as the basis for the future production of own products. This it does in cooperation with other partners from research and industry.
The Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE) at the University of Stuttgart is investigating whether it is possible to replace traditional plastics in the building industry with natural fibre-reinforced biopolymers. As part of the project, which is being funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, the ITKE researchers are working with the Nimbus Group to develop transparent lightweight building boards from biopolymers with acoustic function.
More than 50 researchers, designers, producers and users active in the fibre and textile industries came to Stuttgart on 3rd July 2012 to participate in the first “textile bio-based materials design challenge” (tbdc) workshop. The participants used the interdisciplinary environment to develop project ideas, exchange information and experiences and make new contacts.
TECNARO GmbH who was awarded the Industry Prize 2009 produces sustainable materials for the automotive and packaging industries and also for the manufacturers of furniture toys musical instruments and shoes.
BioLog GmbH, based in Landsberg, is developing bioplastics from chitin, a natural biopolymer extracted from the exoskeleton of crustaceans such as shrimps and crabs. Chitin is modified to chitosan, which can be used for many applications, including for wastewater treatment and as animal feed.
Industrial hemp is a material with huge potential. In future it will be possible to use hemp fibres in many industrial sectors. Badische Naturfaseraufbereitung GmbH is a company that processes hemp fibres, thus forming a link between agriculture and industry.
At the recent International Symposium on Biopolymers ISBP in Stuttgart scientists discussed the use of biobased plastics for applications in the field of medical technology. The majority of strategies presented at the symposium will only be ready for market in a few years time. However they give an idea as to why bioplastics are likely to be applied to a greater extent in the field of medical technology.
Bark fleece is known to be the most ancient material and has been used for thousands of years. It is made in Africa using traditional methods. The company BARK CLOTH Europe based in Ebringen Germany is working with organic farmers in Uganda to produce this wood-free biomaterial. Working with partners of the network BARK CLOTH now hopes to refine BARKCLOTH with biopolymers.
JOTEC GmbH a medical device company based in Hechingen has a broad range of solutions on offer for the therapy of vascular diseases including artificial blood vessels and stentgrafts and is an international leader in this field. The company not only produces traditional vascular grafts from high-quality plastics but also absorbable bioartificial vascular grafts and cell-coated grafts made from biomaterials. Such an approach is currently unique in this sector of the industry.