About FURIOUS

New bio-based plastics for a fossil-free future

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Innovative solutions for the bioplastics sectors

Plastics are used to produce both common objects and sophisticated devices, thanks to their exceptional properties including lightweight, durability, versatility and low cost. The substitution of fossil-derived monomers with renewable-based ones is a key issue to be addressed to lower greenhouse gas emissions, but there are several challenges to overcome in terms of demanding properties that must be achieved by bio-based polymers.

The latest trends in the research of plastics deriving from bio-based feedstocks consider that the aromatic 2,5- furan dicarboxylic acid (2,5-FDCA) is one of the twelve top value-added chemicals from biomass. It can be obtained from sugars like xylose, glucose and fructose or from lignocellulosic feedstock.

However, the best studied furan-based polyester, Polyethylene Furanoate (PEF), is basically stiff and fragile, which strongly limits its applications. Up to now, the intriguing physical/mechanical, oxygen and vapour barrier properties of furan-based polyesters make them the most credible alternative to conventional plastics. Modelling new bio-based and biodegradable polymers from furan dicarboxylic acid is the objective of the FURIOUS project.

The FURIOUS project will obtain a new class of versatile furan-based biopolymers as sustainable alternatives to traditional fossil-based plastics

Concept reusable plastics
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FURIOUS objectives

Designing furan-based plastics for the packaging, automotive and underwater sectors

FURIOUS will advance in the research to obtain furan-based biopolymers to be used in stringent and demanding applications, such as in the automotive, underwater and packaging sectors, where barrier properties and durability are requested. Furthermore, through a circular approach in terms of End of Life options, FURIOUS will contribute to progress in terms of a circular economy with zero waste perspectives.

This approach will lead to an advancement in the synthesis of new polymers from 2,5-FDCA with distinct and versatile structures, by generating at the same time valuable products to be applied in the packaging, automotive and underwater sectors. The overall project concept is to deliver novel, sustainable, but also financially viable FURIOUS alternative materials to the packaging, automotive and underwater sectors exploiting beyond the state-of-the-art strategies. The methods applied in the FURIOUS project use existing technologies, which are adapted to the novel materials and optimized to the processes and goals of the project. Furthermore, new market fields are approached, and innovative applications are targeted starting from synthetic processes developed and validated at a laboratory scale.

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Towards sustainable plastic materials

Targets of the FURIOUS project

Individual packaging

  1. To develop 2,5-FDCA monomer at high purity, followed by 2,5-FDCA-based polyesters that can be 3D-printable and UV cross-linkable
  2. To validate high gas and water barrier, gamma ray resistant films for biomedical, automotive and underwater applications
  3. To assess the environmental, economic and social viability of the project procedures and products
  4. To assess and validate mechanical recyclability, enzymatic depolymerization, chemical re-polymerization, compostability, and biodegradability of end-use materials of the FURIOUS solutions
  5. To create a Sustainable by Design Database for the elaboration and management of project data
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We are working to obtain sustainable plastics

How is FURIOUS contributing to high-demanding plastic applications

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Biomedical and electronic packaging

Polymers used in biomedical and electronic packaging applications are from non-renewable sources and are difficult to recycle due to their contamination. In addition, they need resistance to humidity, extreme temperatures, mechanical loads and chemical effects. FURIOUS aims to find bio-based solutions by guiding the synthesis procedures towards compostable and/or recyclable formulations able to sustain gamma-radiation exposure, humidity and corrosion.

Car front

Automotive sector

Within FURIOUS, two automotive components will be addressed: air filters and window screens. Non-woven fabrics in automotive are the current solution for the filtration of air, varying in composition, thickness and weft type. The filter should be able to block polluting particles, absorb gases and odours, and also prevent the formation of bacteria and allergens. FURIOUS will advance in the treatment of nanoparticle membranes with electrospinning technology, never tested with 2,5-FDCA-based polymers.

As regards plastic screens, they are usually produced with polymethyl methacrylate, (PMMA), a transparent thermoplastic. Within FURIOUS, furan-based polyesters produced using different synthetic strategies will be evaluated for the replacement of PMMA in the production of transparent screens with high resistance to UV weathering.

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3D printed sensor and probe coating in underwater conditions

The choice of material is crucial to create structures hosting organisms to be used as bio-indicators and bio-sensors in bio-hybrid robotics monitoring aquatic ecosystems. In this sector, the materials should preferably be bio-compatible, biodegradable and non-toxic, but non-biodegradable plastics are the ones currently used. Within FURIOUS, 3D printable bio-based and marine biodegradable polyesters will be realized

Calendar
48
Months
Euro
4.4
Millions €
Globe
8
Countries
People
15
Partners
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How we lower GHG emissions

FURIOUS's sustainable-by-design approach

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The sustainable-by-design approach of FURIOUS

Value chains of fossil- and bio-based plastics are very complex and the CO2 footprint varies a lot depending on raw materials, production and utilisation of side and waste streams, and EoL options. FURIOUS will apply a sustainable-by-design approach to allow the polymeric materials reuse in high-performance and durable applications. Recycling postpones GHG, thus storing carbon resources and, since it avoids the use of virgin raw material, it effectively decreases GHG emissions. To evaluate the environmental impact, the consortium will consider two key indicators: bio-based/renewable content and reduction of GHG emissions. LCA will be an important tool for substantiating environmental claims as it will take into account factors such as energy use, GHG emissions, and water use. Thus, FURIOUS has the potential to reduce GHG emissions by approximately 33% compared to its petrochemical counterpart. In addition, by using bio-based products instead of fossil ones, GHG emissions can also be avoided, since the unusable part of the raw material is burnt for energy purposes.

Project workpackages

Project Start
17%
WP1

Definition of raw material and application requirements

Leader: Stora Enso
Month: M1-M9

89%
WP2

Synthesis of eco-designed polymers

Leader: University of Bologna
Month: M3-M27

24%
WP3

Characterization of furan-based polyesters

Leader: University of Alicante
Month: M6-M33

11%
WP4

Furan-based thermoplastics for electronic and biomedical packaging

Leader: Bio-Mi
Month: M9-M48

0%
WP5

Furan-based thermoplastics for automotive

Leader: INSTM
Month: M12-M48

0%
WP6

Furan-based thermoplastics for automotive

Leader: University of Maastricht
Month: M15-M48

10%
WP7

Circular by design concepts

Leader: University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences BOKU
Month: M3-M42

15%
WP8

Safety, Sustainability and Economical Assessment

Leader: University of Perugia
Month: M1 - M48

17%
WP9

Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation Activities

Leader: KNEIA
Month: M1 - M48

17%
WP10

Project Management

Leader: University of Perugia
Month: M1 - M48

17%