Description du projet :
In Switzerland, about 2.8 million tons - 330 kg per inhabitant - of food is wasted every year. This number reflects the combined amount of food lost across the value chain, from agricultural production (13%), processing (27%), wholesale and retail (8%), catering (14%) to household consumption (38%) losses. The waste has a further negative environmental impact in terms of CO2 equivalent emissions, biodiversity loss and land and water consumption. From a materials engineering perspective, these losses consist for the majority out of proteins and carbohydrates, polymeric molecules that are the building blocks of all organic natural structures in fauna and flora. Considered as non-value-added, they are wasted as effluents, by incineration, or spilled as fertilizer.
BIOPACK wants to take advantage of the local availability of these wasted proteins and exploit their unique self-organizing properties to develop value added barrier films for food packaging. A first targeted protein feedstock is keratin from chicken feathers. Keratin proteins from feathers have the unique structural self-organizing ability to form beta-sheets, which are plate-like nanostructures of densely folded molecules. These nanostructures are an ideal barrier against oxygen and water. In combination with the inherent water resistance of keratin, it forms the ideal natural packaging material to replace fossil fuel-based polyamides or polyvinyl alcohol films. In Switzerland, about 12.500 tons of chicken feathers are available from local chicken for food processing enterprises. Today, the chicken feathers are partly collected for processing into chicken feather meal that is either added as a nitrogen source to PET food as filler or used in fertilizer, or for the majority incinerated in special facilities outside Switzerland.
The BIOPACK innovative step is the combination of keratin with polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA), a natural bioplastic. The combination provides an all-biobased material that is fully compostable but offers the potential to control the PHA crystallization rate, size and amount through the self-organizing keratin and thus steer the barrier properties of the compound and the final targeted packaging film. Besides the functional performance of the film for packaging food, and the up-cycling of non-valorized proteins, a fully circular local bioeconomy can be created that is carbon neutral and avoid the use of fossil-fuel based polymers. Furthermore, the project contributes to the Swiss Federal 2022-2025 action plan to reduce food waste and associated emissions based on the Chevalley postulate 18.3829.
BIOPACK brings together the complimenting expertise of two engineering schools, HES-SO Valais-Wallis (VS) and HES-SO Fribourg-Freiburg (FRI). The former brings long term knowledge on PHA synthesis, processing, and polymer characterization, while the latter contributes expertise in keratin extraction from chicken feathers at semi-industrial level, plastics compounding, processing, and application development for packaging. Additional collaboration is planned with HES-SO Vaud-Waadt (VD) to leverage their barrier property measurement infra-structure and expertise.
Forschungsteam innerhalb von HES-SO:
, Pilloud Vincent
, Breguet Mercier Véronique
, Koopmans Rudolf
, Blauth Guillaume
, Amstutz Véronique
, Marti Roger
, Portmann Cyril
, Jansod Sutida
, Dietrich Sonia
, Panchetti Bianca
Partenaires académiques: VS - Institut Technologies du vivant; FR - EIA - Institut ChemTech; FR - EIA - Institut iRAP
Durée du projet:
01.01.2023 - 30.04.2024
Montant global du projet: 220'000 CHF