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Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2 | Award Amount: 3.79M | Year: 2008

Chocolate is a complex material, which can be damaged by means of bloom growth or cracking. This is a significant issue for filled products such as pralines or wafers. For SMEs and larger companies these problems can prevent the manufacture of products of sufficient quality. It is the aim of this project to study the phenomena of chocolate bloom and crack propogation in chocolate for filled sweets. The mechanisms will be studied and then ways in which these problems can be avoided will be developed. Demonstrators will be manufactured and training and information provided for the industry, including the writing of a technical manual.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME | Phase: SME-2012-1 | Award Amount: 1.48M | Year: 2013

A white coatings opacity derives from some light absorption but predominantly light scattering, which is a function of differences in refractive index between paint components. In conventional white decorative coatings, for example, the main contribution to scattering is the difference in refractive index between titanium dioxide pigment (n=2.7) and the continuous medium, the resin system (n1.5). Titanium dioxide has one of the highest refractive indices known, and is certainly the most widely used white pigment, but in recent years the price of titanium dioxide has increased rapidly and there will be serious supply shortages in the foreseeable future. At the same time, there is a growing awareness of sustainability and environmental issues in the chemical industry and particularly the coatings industry, and methodologies, such as life cycle analysis and carbon footprints, are being developed to quantify the environmental friendliness of coatings materials and products. Titanium dioxide pigment is one of the major contributors to a coatings carbon footprint and the manufacturing process for titanium dioxide produces unwanted waste products. Another way of enhancing opacity in a white coating is the inclusion of air (n=1), which can improve the efficiency of titanium dioxide as an opacifier, air has environmental and cost benefits. The DRYFOAM project will develop novel opaque architectural coatings, based on a foam structure. It aims to develop stable and tough foam scaffolds within coatings, particularly for ceilings and interior walls, capable of withstanding normal wear and tear conditions. The European interior wall coatings market (including ceilings) was estimated in 2008 as 2.79 million tonnes (valued at 4.65 BN), more or less equally split between the professional decorating and the home (DIY) decorating market.

450 k t p.a. of foamed polymer packaging (mainly expanded polystyrene, EPS) is consumed in the EU with 34% (150 k t p.a.) used for food packaging. Foam packaging is an essential part of the food processing and transport process to prevent damage and spoilage. However, they are made from synthetic polymers and have low density (50 kg/m3) which makes them difficult to recycle economically. Thus, the vast majority of foams are landfilled at the end-of-life where they take-up a large volume and resist degradation. In addition, foamed polymers constitute a very high level of litter which is persistent in the environment and is the main source of marine debris. As a result of these factors, food retailers are looking to develop foamed packing solutions based on biodegradable polymers from natural sources. Only Poly lactic acid (PLA) is produced in sufficient tonnages as a natural alternative. However, due to its chemical structure, PLA thermally degrades during processing which prevent the production of low density unmodified PLA foams using traditional extrusion technologies. Only modified PLAs have been successfully foamed to low densities. However these modified PLAs rely on technologies only available from the USA and the modification process affects the final properties and biodegradation behaviour. The proposed PLA-Foam project will develop a supercritical CO2 assisted foam extrusion process and thermoforming method that will produce unmodified PLA foam products with greatly reduced thermal degradation. This will enable the consortium to produce low density foams using unmodified PLAs whose performance and biodegradation behaviour will exceed current alternative. This will allow our consortium to develop world-leading PLA foam technologies that are not dependent on US technologies, giving us global market leadership and leading to sales in excess of 100 million Euros 5 years after the project ends and increase profits across the consortium by 9 million Euros.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: CP-FP | Phase: NMP-2009-1.2-2 | Award Amount: 3.44M | Year: 2010

The long term objective of the WOODLIFE project is to provide coated and glued wood products with substantially improved durability for a more sustainable society. The project aims to develop new water-based clear coating systems for wood with improved UV-absorbing properties, and to develop new water-based thermoplastic wood adhesives with improved mechanical properties. The new coating and adhesive systems will be designed through molecular manufacturing of inorganic nanoparticles, nanoclays and composite organic-inorganic binders with predictable and controllable properties. Wood is an excellent building material with a high strength/density ratio and it is a renewable resource. For outdoor use it is, however, necessary to enhance the durability of wood materials due to the high sensitivity for UV degradation. Traditionally, organic UV-absorbers are used in clear coatings for wood, however these substances degrade upon outdoor weathering. New UV-absorbing systems for clear coats will be developed in the project based on nanoparticles of CeO2, ZnO and TiO2. With these new systems the service-life of the coated wood will be extended and the cost for maintenance and wood replacement will be decreased. If the mechanical properties of water-based thermoplastic wood adhesives such as PVAc can be improved it would be possible to use the wood products based on these systems for a longer time, leading to a more sustainable society. It would also be possible to use PVAc adhesives instead of the more expensive MUF/PRF adhesives in some load-bearing applications. Engineered nanoparticles will be developed in the project and will be introduced into wood adhesives in order to improve the properties of wood-adhesive joints. The nanoparticles and nanoclays that will be developed in the project will either be added directly to water-based systems or incorporated in hybrid binders in order to improve the dispersion of the nanoparticles and to improve storage stability.

Agency: Cordis | Branch: FP7 | Program: BSG-SME-AG | Phase: SME-2011-2 | Award Amount: 2.49M | Year: 2011

Our novel concept is to develop a low-fat cheese processing technology to enable the production of low-fat Mozzarella-type ingredient cheese with superior texture, flavour and melting qualities. The newly developed low-fat cheese will be suitable for use in pizzas, ready meals, fast food, sandwiches and salads. Our primary target markets are the industrial cheese sector for chilled and frozen pizzas and ready meals. We will also target the retail and foodservices sectors. We propose to develop a Mozzarella-type cheese with <3% fat which is a significant improvement on the currently available 5% fat cheese. Reduced (12% fat) and lower fat content Mozzarella-type cheese are currently available on the market but with very poor qualities of flavour, texture and melting, widely prevents them from consumer acceptance. Therefore we will introduce new innovative starter cultures for improving the flavour and texture of low-fat Mozzarella-type cheeses and optimize appropriate processing conditions of temperature, pH, milk fat and casein-to-fat ratio in the milk. Furthermore, we will develop an innovative oil coating process for improving the meltdown of the low-fat cheese after it is shredded in the meal in preparation. Based on the scientific findings of the coating process, we will then develop an oil coating device which will successfully coat cheese shreds. We will enhance our knowledge of starter cultures and oil coating of cheese and hence provide the end consumer with a cheese displaying desired texture, flavour and melting profiles. We strongly believe that our technology will help the European cheesemaking industry which is facing the threat of losing a significant proportion of its market as a result of European legislation which calls for limiting saturated and trans fat content both in cheese and cheese-based products.

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