Newsletter 2

LIFE-PLA4COFFEE project is an initiative proposed and financed under the LIFE 2014 Programme of the European Union. The project, involving two medium enterprises: Aroma System s.r.l. (Coordinator) and API Applicazioni Plastiche Industriali S.p.A. and two public research organizations: Tor Vergata University of Rome (TOV) and the Institute for Polymers, Composites and Biomaterials of the National Research Council of Italy (IPCB-CNR), mainly intend to:

1. Scale-up competitive material solutions for the production of compostable coffee capsules with suitable specifications required by the reference market;

2. Demonstrate how an industrial innovation can ensure new productions with reduced environmental impact while safeguarding the economic growth. From the technical point of view, the partners aim to achieve the following results:

  • At least one refined formulation based on polylactic acid (PLA) and able to meet processing conditions and performance criteria;
  • Prototypes of new coffee capsules, fully biodegradable and with the same, if not improved, performances;
  • A specifically designed pre-industrial compounding plant;
  • Technologies adequately adapted to demonstrate the feasibility of the new bio-solution to the whole plastic industry.

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PROJECT ADVANCEMENT at present, the fine-tuning of the Poly(Lactic Acid) PLA-based formulation is completed. Special attention has been paid on a commercial grade PLA. In details, four formulations involving a chain extenders and micro-lamellar talc acting as both mineral filler and a nucleation promoter (see Table 1) have been prepared and systematically tested in terms of thermal, mechanical properties and structural issues, as well.

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List of formulations. The talc concentration can be increased up to 12.8 wt. %.

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An image of the prototypal equipment that has been involved in the reactive extrusion compounding and pelletizing of the engineered PLA formulations

Experimental findings permitted to restrict the scientific interest on two formulations (that is, formulations #2 and #3) which will be soon redeveloped on pre-industrial scale after appropriate modifications.

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Pellets manufactured according to the formulation reported in Table 1.

 

PROJECT DETAILS

Title: LIFE PLA4COFFEE

Reference Number: LIFE 14 ENV/IT/000744

Duration: 15/07/2015 – 14/12/2017

Total Budget: 2.502.695 €

 

For any question or curiosity, please do not hesitate to contact

Dr. Pietro Russo: +39 338 8308815 • email: pietro.russo@ipcb.cnr.it