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EU Starts Research on Bio-based Product Standards for Biomass Content, Functionality & more

Published on 2012-10-16. Author : SpecialChem

On 27 September the seven partners involved in an EU funded research programme held their kick-off meeting in Paris. Led by NEN, the Netherlands Standardization Institute, the project executes pre-standardization research for bio-based products. The results automatically feed into the CEN standardization process on the same topic. The goal is to provide the European and global market with horizontal standards on biomass content and biodegradability that have been assessed on a first set of different products, such as solvents, plastics and lubricants.

The application of standards and certification systems in the European bio-based product industry has positive long-term effects on the overall development of bio-based product markets. Trade barriers are reduced and the development of a pan-European market for biobased products is promoted. Finally, public acceptance of bio-based products is increased through ensuring and verifying the sustainable sourcing of raw materials, the effective biocontent and clear indication of their (comparative) functionality in relation to the regular products. The KBBPPS project aims at increasing the uptake speed of standards and certification systems for bio-based products.

Following Mandates by the European Commission, the European Standardization Committee initiated a Technical Committee on "Bio-based products", CEN/TC 411. The project KBBPPS (Knowledge Based Bio-based Products' Pre-Standardization) is requested under the FP7 EU research programme to execute pre- and co-normative research for this committee. By participating in this committee and by exchanging with for instance ASTM, KBBPPS will allow the European stakeholders to progress with well-defined, globally aligned and sound test methods correlated to actual field behaviour and applicability in the lab.

Project Partners

For this, a research consortium between the Agricultural University of Athens, the University of York, Wageningen University, ECN, OWS and nova-Institute has been established, managed by NEN. In addition, associations like EuropaBio, European Bioplastics and Association Chimie du Végétal (ACDV) are connected to the project, just as research groups like Scion in New Zealand, Beta-Analytic in the UK and Michigan State University in the USA cooperate in the project. A first industry workshop to exchange ideas is planned to be held in conjunction with the "International Conference on Industrial Biotechnology and Biobased Plastics & Composites" in April 2013 in Cologne, Germany. The overall KBBPPS project time is three years. But intermediate results for the standardization process are expected already in the upcoming twelve months. A project-website that will be combined with a CEN bio-based information platform will follow soon.

Project Objectives

The KBBPPS project covers research and demonstration on bio-based carbon content determination, biomass content methods not solely dependent on 14C-analysis and biodegradability and eco-toxicity test schemes. Next, identification and resolution of functionality related bottlenecks with the view to developing, harmonising and validating test methodologies will be undertaken. The possibilities for improving sample preparation, fractionation and thermal treatments will be studied in order to cover bio-based carbon and other bio-based elements' determination. Next, practical solutions for stakeholders, lab and field tests on biodegradation or biologically derived elements will be investigated. The goal in the end is that the results can be directly implemented into European standards. The KBBPPS project has received funding from the European Union.

Michael Carus is Managing Director of nova-Institute in Hürth near Cologne (Germany), which has been working on the field of the "Bio-based Economy" since 1994. Along with market surveys and raw material studies, the Institute's core strengths lie in the areas of lifecycle analysis, policy advice and B2B communication including conferences.

As dissemination partner within this project, the nova-Institute will organise advisory workshops that will collect input from industry experts, develop a website communicating the project on-goings and achievements and distribute regular updates via press releases. A major objective will be the outreach to international standardisation bodies as well as a successful communication of the project results to CEN. In another capacity, the nova-Institute will support the selection of the most important bio-based intermediates and products for the methodology measurement and validation and identify the main market entry barriers that exist in regulations, codes, standards and supply chains. Also, an analysis of existing green and natural labels and the potential for conflicts or harmonization with carbon and biomass content will be executed.

About Nova-Institute

The nova-Institute was founded as a private and independent institute in 1994. It is located in the Chemiepark Knapsack in Huerth, which lies at the heart of the chemical industry around Cologne (Germany). For over 15 years now, the nova-Institute has been globally active in feedstock supply, techno-economic evaluation, market research, dissemination, project management and policy for a sustainable bio-based economy.

Source: Nova-Institute


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