DAFIA project transforms fishing industry by-products and municipal solid waste into bioplastics

The European DAFIA Project, coordinated by AIMPLAS, provides the automotive and food packaging industries with sustainable solutions by developing biopolymers, flame-retardant additives and barrier packaging

This project meets circular economy criteria because it involves obtaining new, green, safe resources from marine and municipal waste.

The fifteen partners in the project consortium (POLITECNICO DI TORINO, SINTEF OCEAN, SINTEF INDUSTRY, DANMARKS TEKNISKE UNIVERSITET, IRCELYON, NUTRIMAR, INOVAÇÃO I RECERCA INDUSTRIAL I SOSTENIBLE, BIOTREND - INOVAÇÃO E ENGENHARIA EM BIOTECNOLOGIA, DAREN LABORATORIES & SCIENTIFIC CONSULTANTS, MINE PLASTIK, BIO BASE EUROPE PILOT PLANT, BIOPOLIS, ARKEMA IRCELYON and THE NATIONAL NON- FOOD CROPS CENTRE) have spent the last four years working on waste that appears to have no added value, including municipal solid waste (household rubbish) and the by-products of the fishing industry.

Fishing industry waste was used to extract and formulate flame-retardant additives at pilot plant scale. These additives can be used in the automotive industry to increase the flame retardancy of polyamides with components that provide an alternative to halogenated flame retardants, whose use is restricted due to the danger to human health. This has two advantages: these additives have the same properties as conventional ones, and they are good for the environment because they come from renewable resources.

Fishing industry waste was also used to obtain alternatives to ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH, derived from fossil fuels) that have oxygen barrier properties. This fish gelatin-based formula can be incorporated into food packaging film or used to actually coat food in the form of an edible coating that extends its shelf life. This is a perfect example of circularity as fish waste is reincorporated into the production chain to package food, thus preventing the generation of waste by using it as a new resource. In the case of municipal solid waste, the use of innovative fermentation processes has made it possible to extract building blocks from sugars (carbon source) that can be used to synthesize biopolymers such as bio-based polyamides. These materials come from renewable sources and also have applications in the automotive industry.

This project was funded by the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 720770.