ThermoWhey project will develop a new bio-based thermoformable barrier coating

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The project was presented in a KO meeting celebrated by the end of May in Germany

A research project to develop a new bio-based thermoformable barrier coating solution in the wide packaging sector started the last week. ThermoWhey project was launched with the Kickoff meeting celebrated on May 26-27th in Germany, with the whole consortium and the Manunet contact point for Germany Jens Korell.

This 28 months R&D project funded by EC’s Seventh Framework Programme (under the Manunet programme) will deliver whey protein coating with improved thermoformability independently from storage time while maintaining excellent barrier properties to produce packaging for different food, pharma and cosmetic applications.

There is a growing need and a significant market opportunity for more sustainable packaging solutions. Thermoforming is one of the dominant and growing technologies in the packaging market and although bio-based trays exist on the market for years, they do not meet the barrier properties required for sensitive food products that the Thermowey product will have. Overall, bio-based plastics still represent a niche but, thanks to technical innovations and with a 25% anual growth, have increasing potential to replace their synthetic counterparts plastic. In contrast with certain controversial biopolymers that compete with food resources, ThermoWhey will represent a unique market offering that is derived from agrofood by-product, and that delivers sufficient barrier properties for products packed in modified atmosphere (MAP). The project will develop a complete set up of the manufacturing capacity and optimised process for Whey poder (WPC), agglomeration process for whey protein based barrier coatings as well as of a coating process for films, and manufacturing of thermoformed packaging (blisters and trays) for pharma and food industries.

The consortium for this project is complementary, combining the expertise of 4 SMEs partners (IRIS coordinator, GEBA, MLANG and SERVIPLAST) and one research institute (FRAUNHOFER) and brings together competences from Spain and Germany.

As it precursor Wheylayer ® barrier polymers, ThermoWhey project will have a very positive impacto n the environment as it solves multiple challenges: finding new comercial use of currently discarded cheese by-product, replacing petroleum-based plastics with natural biopolymers while safeguarding the performance and recycling of packaging.

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