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  • Italian bioplastics firm Bio-on collaborates with University of Hawai’i on PHA project


    Bologna, Italy-based Bio-on and University of Hawai’i have signed an exclusive global research contract to further develop the technology to produce PHAs from lignocellulosic materials derived from wood processing waste and domestic or agricultural waste.

    Bio-On and UHBio-on will invest 1.4 million dollars in the Manoa (HI) laboratories for this project. The Hawai‘i Natural Energy Institute, a research unit of the School of Ocean and Earth Science & Technology (SOEST) at University of Hawai’i at Manoa, will take the lead on the research.

    The aim is to create an industrial process in which a wider selection of waste products can serve as the feedstock for the production of PHAs. Currently, sugar beet, sugar cane, glycerol from biodiesel waste and potato processing waste the most commonly used waste sources; this project will add wood and domestic or agricultural waste to the list.

    PHAs, or polyhydroxyalkanoates, are bioplastics that can replace a number of traditional polymers currently made with petrochemical processes using hydrocarbons. The PHAs developed by Bio-on guarantee the same thermo-mechanical properties as oil-based polymers with the advantage of being completely naturally biodegradable.

    UH is “pleased to accept Bio-on's investment of 1.4 million dollars” according to Robert Bley-Vroman, Chancellor of the University of Hawai’i Manoa USA. The investment will “make our scientists at the Hawai’i Natural Energy Institute School of Ocean and Earth Science & Technology University of Hawai’i Manoa key players in the research into the green chemical industry at global level,” he said.

    Bio-on S.p.A. Chairman Marco Astorri noted that the newly signed contract makes the research conducted in the USA on behalf of Bio-on one of the highest-level collaborations in existence.
    "We are committing our funding and our technicians to support UH scientists in the technological expansion of the high performing biopolymers produced with Bio-on technology,” he declared.

    The agreement between Bio-on and University of Hawai’i adds an important building block to the construction of the platform for bioplastic production and the green chemical industry of the future. This agreement heralds the opening up of highly promising scenarios for the development and internationalisation of Bio-on's technology on new markets.(KL)

    Image:Robert Bley-Vroman, left; Marco Astorri, right

    http://www.bio-on.it; http://www.http://manoa.hawaii.edu/miro/

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