Project: Xylan-based oxygen-barrier for liquid packaging board.

There is a growing interest in sustainable packaging materials and the replacement of traditionally used non-renewable materials with new renewable and biodegradable alternatives.(1,2) Today, most polymers used in packaging, and as barrier materials, are petroleum-based and non-compostable, and their disposal contributes to growing landfills and enhanced greenhouse effects when burned. Furthermore, the earth’s fossil resources are limited and the interest in the use of renewable resources for the production of polymeric materials is growing as the problem of reducing oil resources gains more attention and oil prices reach higher levels. There is also an interest to replace other currently used non-renewable food packaging barriers such as aluminium foil and fluorocarbon-based coatings. Aluminium foil is energy-requiring to produce and fluorocarbons have health and environmental concerns. _x000D_Food packaging barriers based on compostable polymeric materials derived from renewable resources exist on the market today, but their properties are often inferior to those of petroleum-based synthetic polymers. This project is based on a barrier technology developed and patented by Xylophane, the coordinating R&D performing SME P. The patented technology is a new barrier material for packaging based on xylan, a hemicellulosic by-product from the agricultural industry.(3,4) Polysaccharides such as xylan are produced by agro plants and trees in enormous quantities by the conversion of carbon dioxide and water using solar energy, which leads to a better carbon dioxide balance in our ecosystem._x000D_The xylan-based barrier material is an excellent barrier to oxygen, grease and aroma at low and moderate relative humidity (RH) and with oxygen barrier properties in the same range as the high barrier materials ethyl vinyl alcohol copolymer (EVOH) and polyvinylidene chloride (PVdC) and with an oxygen permeability well below oriented polyethylene terephthalate (OPET).(4) Dispersion coating is an industrial valid technology which can be used to apply the xylan-based formulation onto substrates to form a thin coating. Today, the xylan-based technology can replace oil-based barrier materials and/or aluminium foil in different multilayer packaging structures for dry and intermediate moisture food, e.g. sacks for pet food and flexible packaging material for snacks or coffee. However, the current solution is sensitive to moisture and the oxygen/grease/aroma barrier is significantly reduced at higher RH. _x000D_The aim of the project is to develop a sustainable xylan-based oxygen barrier technology with low oxygen permeability at elevated RH, and with required mechanical properties. The improved barrier technology will be integrated into a multilayer laminate. The new improved technology would facilitate the use of the sustainable oxygen barrier in new markets applications and the target application in this project is as barrier in liquid packaging paperboard (LPB)/extended shelf life (ESL)._x000D__x000D_Market applications: The growing environmental concern today has led to an increasing interest in replacing non-renewable barrier materials with sustainable alternatives. Thus, the market potential for novel sustainable technologies is large. Although there is comprehensive literature about sustainable packaging there is still a demand for technologies that have the sufficient material properties and that in a cost efficient way can replace current industrial packaging solutions based on non-sustainable material. The European market of liquid packaging board (LPB) is €1-2 billion (2009). The target applications in the project are wet and liquid food packaging, and initially as sustainable oxygen barrier in LPB/ESL. _x000D__x000D_The consortium is a well-balanced Pship consisting of the following Ps:_x000D_- Xylophane (SME, Sweden) is an R&D performing SME with patented xylophane barrier technology. They have expertise in biobased barriers and product development and will be the managing coordinator of the project._x000D_- N-Tec (SME, Norway) is an R&D performing SME and producer of carbon-based nanofillers and will provide material and expertise in this area. _x000D_- EloPak (Industrial, Norway) is an industrial P and a large producer of LPB. They will be responsible for production and characterization of LPB based on the sustainable barrier._x000D_- YKI, Institute for surface chemistry (Research Organization, Sweden) is an internationally leading research institute in applied surface and colloid chemistry. YKI will be responsible for modification of the xylan-based formulation by the incorporation of nanofillers and other additives._x000D__x000D_References_x000D_1. Weber, C., Biobased packaging materials for the food industry, 2000, ISBN 87-90504-07-0_x000D_2. Andersson, C., Packag. Technol. Sci., 2008, Vol 21 (6), p339_x000D_3. Plackett, D., Biomacromolecules, 2008, Vol 9 (6), p1493 _x000D_4. US2010/0129642 A1, Polymeric films or coating comprising hemicellulose

Acronym XyloPack (Reference Number: 7420)
Duration 01/10/2012 - 31/07/2014
Project Topic The aim of the project is to develop a sustainable xylan-based oxygen barrier with low oxygen permeability at elevated relative humidity. The modified barrier will be evaluated as a multilayer laminate, for the use as liquid packaging, by a large industrial P to test the proof of concept.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 8

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Xylophane AB Coordinator Sweden
4 n-Tec A.S. Partner Norway
4 Elopak Partner Norway
4 SP Sveringes Tekniska Forskninsinstitut Partner Sweden