Smartbox

New specialty polymers based on bio-aromatic building blocks derived from wood.

B4Plastics is inventing and upscaling new eco-plastic materials made out of wood. The materials are designed to have the best balance in function, cost and ecology in their target applications. Via the EU research project SMARTBOX, we can fulfill this mission starting from local woody waste streams of biorefineries.

The Problem

Today, the biggest part of the plastics that we use in our daily lives are so-called “virgin” plastics. These polymers incorporate petrochemicals as monomers which are freshly produced from oil refineries. They rely on fossil resources that moreover have to travel thousands of kilometres to reach Europe.

Common plastics do not only travel far to reach us. Their production processes applied in oil refineries also demand high temperatures and pressures – in contrast with Nature. And this energy consumption is again… fossil, right. B4Plastics’ eco-plastics are fixing this and contribute to 4 out of Europe’s 8 Green Deal Ambitions!
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    Petrochemicals

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    Oil refineries

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    Fossil fuel

The Solution

The core of B4Plastics is to design and develop bioplastics that incorporate bio-based building blocks (B4). This means we step away from fossil fuels and carefully choose monomers that can be obtained from greener alternatives, such as biorefineries. Their low temperature and pressure processes use biomass, such as wood, as an energy source and therefore offer more local options.

SMARTBOX aims to make biorefineries more cost-competitive and environmentally sustainable by using the synergy between a catalytic fractionation technique and bio-enzymes that together can turn wood as biomass into renewable monomers for plastics, such as bio-aromatics. These added-value building blocks can be introduced into new bio-based products which offer a sustainable alternative to virgin plastics.
Together with our partners in public-private research of SMARTBOX, B4Plastics uses bio-aromatics as local bio-based building blocks to design new specialty polymers. With these unique monomers, we aim to develop locally and renewably resourced products with new ecological features for a more sustainable plastics future and a greener world.

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    Industry

    AVA Biochem, B4Plastics, Bio Base Europe Pilot Plant, Borregaard, Covestro, Quantis

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    Research facilities

    KU Leuven, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Università di Pavia, Zymvol, ITQB

Technical Readiness Level

Level 1
Product demonstration

Eureka moment in the head

Test

Fundamental
research

Technological
research

Product
demonstration

Manufacturing

The Value Chain

Steps in the value chain

Transitioning from lineair to circular

Raw material production

Manufacture
and use

Disposal

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    Raw Material

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    Monomer production

  • 3

    Polymer production

  • 4

    Plastic conversion

  • 5

    Production of plastic products

  • 6

    Use

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    Collection/ sorting and recycling

  • 8

    End of life

Bio-based value chain The Project B4Plastics 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Raw material production

1 Raw material

Sugar-rich waste exstracted from sugar beets.

This project has received funding from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 837890.

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