Project Progression

The BIOMOTIVE project spans nine Work Packages (WPs).

 

During RP1, WP1 activities focused on the optimization and implementation of chemical and biotechnological processes for production of vegetable oils and biobased building blocks to be later used as biobased raw materials for the synthesis of biobased TPUs, 2k PU foams and NIPUs. Novamont as WP leader and main partner involved in this WP has set-up and validated protocols (both for upstream and downstream processes) to obtain samples at different purity levels of biobased diols, biobased dicarboxylic acids and vegetable oils from low input oil crops. Samples of the different biobased raw materials have been provided to WP3 to get the feedback that has been essential to optimize the production protocols. A specific attention has been paid to adjust the downstream processes to the degree of purity required by the applications developed inside Biomotive project as well as to optimize process parameters towards increasing yield and productivity. Moreover the feasibility of using off-gas from fermentation processes as feedstock for further chemical conversion has started to be investigated.

WP2 covers the development of the novel process for producing regenerated fibres from paper-grade wood pulp.

WP3 First 18 months of BioMotive project has passed and it has been an intensive time for all involved in work package 3. Researchers in WP3.1 have developed synthesis technology allowing production of polyesters from bio-based raw materials. So far two types of polyesters have been made with 100 % and 60 % bio content. Optimisations in the polymer structure will be done according to the feedback from research groups working on the final materials.

In WP3.2 a special continuous flow reactor has been designed and built. In this reactor static mixer elements coated with catalyst have been mounted. The catalyst has been deposited using innovative plasma technique and initial polymerisations have been carried out. Moreover, UNIPI has developed special molecules that signal when the reaction has been completed emitting light of different intensity depending on the reactor content viscosity. Next steps include optimisiation of the reactor process control devices and testing the indicator molecule on-line.

Researchers in WP3.3 have finalised the testing and selection of an industrial twin-screw extruder needed for manufacturing of thermoplastic polyurethanes (TPU). At the same time they used the 100 % bio based polyesters from WP3.1 and successfully produced bio-based TPU in lab scale. Current works are focused on optimising the properties of the resulting material to better fit the end application requirements. At the end car interior parts will be done from material manufactured in this WP.

First bio-based flexible foams have been made in WP 3.4. Available formulations have been tested and the appropriate properties for car seating foam have been determined. Next a bio-base polyester has been included in the standard formulation as a substitution of a petrochemical polymer. The bio-foam is slightly harder than the standard foam and optimisation works are underway. The goal is to increase the bio-content of the foam without affecting the foam physical properties.

To have a completely 100% bio-base polyurethane one would need to exclude the isocyanates. That is why in WP3.5 an innovative non-isocyanate polyurethanes (NIPUs) are have been developed. Initial epoxidations of cardoon and saffron oils have been successful and these have been transformed into cyclic carbonates by incorporating CO2 gas. Various catalysts have been screened to fin the most efficient one. Subsequent reactions with different amines and additives resulted in non-isocyanate polyurethane foams and gels. The following research will be focused on finding the appropriate amines and raws for producing optimum foam material.

All work packages are well underway without major obstacles. In general, first trials of all technologies have been made and the teams are moving towards optimising the solutions. This work package is key in transforming the bio-based raw materials into raw materials for car parts manufacturers. After first 18 months it seems that the ambitious goal of the whole project is within reach.

WP4 will demonstrate the feasibility of scaling up production of biobased building blocks regenerated fibres, bio-based PU foams and 2k PU foams, as well bio-based PU foams and 2k PU foams reinforced with natural fibres.

WP5 In recent years, vehicle aesthetics have increased their importance when it comes to buying a car; according to recent studies, interior comfort, design and the image of the vehicle portrays are among the ten most important reasons for the purchase of a car, along with its durability, safety, fuel consumption and performance.
MAIER’s main goal related to this project is to be able to apply into its products bio-based sustainable materials that fulfil automotive requirements and that can provide aesthetical and haptic high-added value to its products.
There are some parts in the car, especially in the interior of the car, who have much more interaction with the final user, and so, they have greater influence on interior comfort.

In collaboration with MTC, MAIER evaluated different parts of the interior of the car, in order to evaluate which parts would be interesting to have with haptic high-added value. Finally, the interior “Facia” was selected as the product to test the new bio-TPU materials which will be developed in the Bio-motive project.

MAIER has defined the new specifications according to its experience and know-how combined with the typical features that recycled materials show.

MAIER, with the participation of MTC, has made the analysis of technical requirements from different OEMs to establish a single set of specifications that will be used during the validation tasks. MAIER and MTC worked together in order to define specific tests and requirements to be fulfilled by the bio-TPU new developed material and the final injected product with the new bio-TPU material.

According to MAIER’s experience, and taking into account the final application, the most relevant tests of different OEM-s have been selected.

For the same type of test in the specifications of different OEM-s, it has been selected the highest validation criteria.

The product validation tests can be classified in 2 groups:

  • Aesthetical validation: these tests are critical for the fascia product due to its high aesthetical added value. Due to the difficulty to identify aesthetical defect in an automatic way, this validation is currently carried out by people specialized in this task;
  • Functional validation (Thermo-mechanical performance tests): these are the tests related to the thermo-mechanical performance of the prototypes. These tests depend on the material as much as on the part geometry and in order to be as efficient as possible, must be performed on the prototypes produced by injection moulding process.These functional tests can be classified in 3 groups:
    • Group 1 (Material Properties);
    • Group 2 (Ageing);
    • Group 3 (Improper use);

Apart from the validation of the parts, MAIER will carry out a dimensional analysis to validate the industrial capability of the bio-TPU material designed and formulated in the project. For this dimensional analysis, MAIER will follow its internal protocol has used Statistical Process Control tools (which are based on 6-sigma methodology). These tools are based on dimensional analysis and predict how many products per million produced will be out of the specified tolerances; in the case of automotive industry, the requirement is that 1 or less parts out of a million will be out of tolerances.

The WP6 “Sustainability and Standardization” is divided in four main tasks focused on the assessment of the core activities developed in the project. It includes market and techno-economic assessment of the products and sector involved in the project, study of the sustainability of the process (from the environmental, social and economic point of view), and standardization and certification activities focused on overcome the existing gap in the framework of the bio-based processes and products.A market analysis related to the bio-based materials and products has been conducted during the first period of the Project. A compilation of the automotive market in Europe has been developed, as well as the current polyurethane production, sales and consumption. Market segmentation, competition research, market entry strategies, potential customeres, secondary applications and determination of other competitive technologies, as well as a SWOT and GAP analysis has been performed.

A summary of this assessment is aviable on the project website: https://biomotive.info/2018/10/31/summary-of-market-analysis-of-biobased-materials/

Regarding sustainability, most of the efforts have been focused on the environmental assessment of the Raw Materials stage of the product value chain, as it is the core of the project. Both the fibres, which are in used for textile and reinforcing applications and most of the building blocks, involved in the value chain studied in the project, have been assessed using the environmental tool Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)

The Social impact and the Life Cycle costing methodologies have also been stablished and defined for the assessment.

In the same way, important efforts have been done in the tasks related to the measures towards future processes standardization and certification of biobased products. Most of the activities have been focused on carrying out a review aiming to assess the existence and appropriateness of current standards applicable to the production. Horizontal aspects related all the bio based products, including renewability (bio-based carbon content), reporting and communication have been considered.

In addition, the subsequent application of bio-based TPUs, PU foams and regenerated fibres, as well as an analysis of the existing certification schemes has been assessed.

A checklist for certification based on the requirements of ISCC Plus scheme has been developed, including the corresponding requirements (sustainability criteria).

The WP7 „Dissemination” is divided in three main task. The work package 7 covers dissemination and exploitation activities, in order to promote the project’s results as widely as possible and to all relevant stakeholders, exchanging important feedback and comments on the expected outcomes, and to ensure that any intellectual property generated during the project will be properly managed and exploited.
Task 7.1 covers activities related to the dissemination of information regarding the Biomotive project. During the first reporting period, leaflets and posters were designed that show the main design assumptions. Biomotive representatives also took an active part in organized events such as Auto Moto Arena motor show, European Technology Forum held under Nowy Przemysł Expo in industrial hear of Poland, Katowice, V European Bioeconomy Congress, MECSPE 2018, SCUOLA@NOVAMONT, Transport research arena. During these several months promotional gadgets have been created, which are distributed during organized events. Gadgets such as Briefcases, notebooks, stress balls and Candies. To increase public awareness, a public Biomotive website was created. Website is designed to act as an information hub about the main information and goals, activities and results of the project. The website serves as a prime public dissemination tool making available the project published materials. The public website of BioMotive, located at www.biomotive.info is the main online hub for making the project visible and to publish results to the public. For even greater coverage, social accounts such as facbook, twitter, Instagram and also LinkedIn were created. We managed to create a “Plan of Dissemination of results” during the first reporting period. This plan describes the dissemination plans for BIOMOTIVE, detailing the steps to be taken over the project’s life cycle to achieve a maximum effect and reach the audiences. It gives a brief overview on the dissemination activities and describes future steps. In social accounts, we have published an animated film that shows the project’s assumptions in a friendly way.

Task 7.2 During M1-M18, the following IP-related activities have been achieved by Patentopolis in close consultation with the other Partners. First, a strategy toolkit (planning methodology and online platform to collect and format cross-functional data) has been provided during an IP workshop in M6. Thanks to Partners’ inputs there, the tools have been customized by Patentopolis to the two value chains of the project: one based on wood pulp, and another one based on other sustainable feedstocks such as vegetable oils and sugars e.g. fructose, glucose, saccharose. Next, an audit was carried out by Patentopolis at Partners’ levels in terms of their business goals, market positioning and current-desired IP, followed with a consolidation by Patentopolis of Partners’ data at consortium level, which in turns was validated by Partners. From the consolidated data, Patentopolis has identified gaps and generated strategy options for innovation development, protection and exploitation for each gap. The gaps and options have been collegially assessed and prioritized by Partners during a second workshop in M13 facilitated by Patentopolis. From this prioritization by Partners, two strategic plans for the two value chains were elaborated by Patentopolis, also based on IP landscape studies (identification and first assessment of third parties’ patent publications) prepared by Patentopolis for each of the two value chains. The first release of the plans and IP landscape studies took place at M18. For each upcoming General Assembly meetings, Patentopolis will monitor the gaps and implementation of these plans there. IP landscapes will be updated by Patentopolis on a yearly basis. The first foreground (a patent application filed by one of the Partners) was realized in M12.

WP8 is dedicated to managing and coordinating the BIOMOTIVE project. This will ensure the project meets all its commitments on time and on budget, that common consortium activities are coordinated and that administrative, financial and contractual management are addressed efficiently. It will also provide for effective communication between the project management and the European Commission and the BBI-JU.

WP9 will have responsibility for ensuring that the BIOMOTIVE project complies with all its ethical obligations.