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Expanded Polystyrene (EPS), Polyurethane (EPU), Polyethylene (EPE) and Polypropylene (EPP) represent the most popular moulded cushion packaging materials applied for transport packaging applications. However, despite of their functionality, the widespread use of these polymer foams of synthetic origin implies considerable environmental concerns. The depletion of non-renewable fossil raw material resources associated with emissions of greenhouse gases, such as C5H12 and CO2 applied as blowing agents during processing, are the most direct impacts on the environment. Moreover, their non-biodegradable / non-compostable nature associated with the short life of cushion packaging products rises up fundamental concerns regarding waste disposal. Recycling, which is the solely applicable solution for preventing those synthetic foams entering the waste stream, appears in fact to be rarely applied due to cost-ineffectiveness and lack of effective recycling system. With this in mind, bio-based plastics represent an emerging highly promising solution for protective transport packaging provided that they can be processed in foamed products resulting in adequate functional requirements. Within this framework, the project idea is to develop a flexible, energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable manufacturing process enabling the production of biodegradable foamed 3D-shaped packaging originating from renewable raw materials (i.e. starch and water). Within the proposed process, expansion and foaming of the bio-polymer will be driven by pressurized microwave technology, exploiting the inner water content of the material itself to generate vapour. The proposal is fully compliant with the targeted topic NMP-2007-2.4-1 Flexible efficient processing for polymers, as the proposed process offers a valid alternative to petroleum-based polymer processing, involving the use of renewable feedstocks, and involving microwaves as energy-efficient processing solution.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-TP | Phase: KBBE.2011.3.1-01 | Award Amount: 8.94M | Year: 2012

Most plants use the C3 pathway of photosynthesis that is compromised by gross inefficiencies in CO2 fixation. However, some plants use a super-charged photosynthetic mechanism called C4 photosynthesis. The C4 pathway is used by the most productive vegetation and crops on Earth. In addition to faster photosynthesis, C4 plants demand less water and less nitrogen. Overall, our aim is to introduce the characteristics of C4 into C3 crops. This would increase yield, reduce land area needed for cultivation, decrease irrigation, and limit fertiliser applications. If current C3 crops could be converted to use C4 photosynthesis, large economic and environmental benefits would ensue from both their increased productivity and the reduced inputs associated with the C4 pathway. It is important to note that the huge advances in agricultural production associated with the Green Revolution were not associated with increases in photosynthesis, and so its manipulation remains an unexplored target for crop improvement both for food and biomass. Even partial long-term success would have significant economic and environmental benefits. Efficient C4 photosynthesis would be achieved by alterations to leaf development, cell biology and biochemistry. Although initially we will be using model species such as rice and Arabidopsis we envisage rapid transfer of technological advances into mainstream EU crops, such as wheat and rape, that are used both for food and fuel. We will build capacity for C4 research in Europe in this area by the training of future generations of researchers. To achieve this aim we need to increase our understanding of the basic biology underlying the C4 pathway. Our specific objectives will therefore address fundamental aspects of C4 biology that are needed for a full understanding the pathway. Specifically we aim: 1. To understand the roles and development of the two cell types (mesophyll and bundle sheath) in C4 plants. 2. To identify mechanisms controlling the ex

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: NMP-2008-3.2-1 | Award Amount: 16.82M | Year: 2009

The ultimate ambition of COPIRIDE is to develop a new modular production and factory concept for the chemical industry using adaptable plants with flexible output. This concept will be superior, intellectual property (IP) protected, and enable a much wider spread of know-how and education of this skill-intensive technology. Key functional enabling units are new production-scale, mass-manufactured microstructured reactors as well as other integrated process intensification (PI) reactors realising integrated processes. This will lead to a substantial reduction in costs, resources & energy and notably improves the eco-efficiency. To ensure the competitiveness of European (EU) manufacturing businesses, PI technology / know-how is transferred from leaders to countries (and respective medium & small industries) with no exposure in PI so far, but with a track record in sustainability, and to the explorative markets food and biofuels. A deeply rooted base will be created for IP rights (Copyright, = COPIRIDE) by generic modular reactor & plant design and new generic processes via Novel Process Windows, facilitating patent filing. Due to the entire modular plant concept comprising all utilities far beyond the reaction & processual parts - a holistic PI concept is provided, covering the whole development cycle with, e.g., safety & process control & plant approval. Features, inter alia, are fast plant start-up and shut-down for multipurpose functionality (flexibility in products), sustainable & safe production, and fast transfer from lab to production & business (time-to-market). Industrial demonstration activities up to production scale with five field trials present a good cross-section of reactions relevant to the EU chemical industry. The economic impact in COPIRIDE is 10 Mio /a (cautiously optimistic) to 30 Mio /a (optimistic) by direct exploitation. Indirect exploitation might sum up to 800 Mio /a (very optimistic) by other companies via technology transfer.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-IP | Phase: KBBE-2007-3-2-06 | Award Amount: 8.10M | Year: 2009

The NEMO project provides novel efficient enzymes and microbes for 2nd generation bioethanol production. It generates through metabolic engineering and mutagenesis & screening approaches robust yeast strains that have a broad substrate range and can (co-)ferment C6 and C5 sugars to ethanol with high productivity (rate and yield), and that are significantly more stress tolerant, i.e. inhibitor, ethanol and thermotolerant than the current S.cerevisiae strains used in ethanol production. The NEMO project also identifies and improves enzymes for hydrolysis of biomasses relevant for Europe. Novel enzymes are identified and improved through various approaches, based on screening, broad comparative genomics analyses, and protein engineering. These efforts will generate more thermostable enzymes for high temperature hydrolysis, more efficient enzymes for hydrolysis of the resistant structures in lignocellulose such as crystalline cellulose and lignin-hemicellulose complexes, enzymes with reduced affinity on lignin, and efficient thermo and mesophilic enzyme mixtures that are optimised and tailor-made for the relevant biomasses for Europe and European industry. These novel biocatalysts are tested in an iterative manner in process relevant conditions, including also pilot-scale operations, which ensure that the novel enzymes and microbes will be superior in real process conditions. Furthermore, optimal enzyme, microbe and process regime combinations are identified, providing basis for the development of the most economic and ecoefficient overall processes. The impact of the NEMO project on 2nd generation bioethanol production is significant because it provides most realistic but widely applicable technologies that could be exploited broadly by European industry. Its impact goes also much beyond bioethanol because NEMO provides technology improvements that are directly applicable and crucial for efficient and economic production of also other biofuels and bulk chemicals.

Chemtex Italia Srl | Date: 2012-01-10

Industrial chemicals; chemical feedstocks for industrial use. Fuels, in particular bio-fuels. Apparatus and instruments, namely, agitators, coolers, filters, heat exchangers, cyclones, plates and frames, centrifuges, pumps, tanks, gears or lobes, vessels, drums, reactors, mixers, nozzles, conveyors, compressors, dischargers, feeders, steamers, and decompression devices for processing and converting biomass to chemical feedstock; chemistry apparatus and instruments, namely, agitators, coolers, filters, heat exchangers, cyclones, plates and frames, centrifuges, pumps, tanks, gears or lobes, vessels, drums, reactors, mixers, nozzles, conveyors, compressors, dischargers, feeders, steamers, and decompression devices for processing and converting biomass to chemical feedstock. Processing and conversion of biomass to chemical feedstocks; consultancy relating to the processing and conversion of biomass to chemical feedstocks.

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