27 Oct Andaltec joins the Cervera Agromatter Project, intended to develop sustainable technical materials from agricultural waste
The Technological Centre for Plastics (Andaltec), together with four other Technological Centres, will benefit from one of the prestigious “Cervera Projects-Technological Centres”. This programme is aimed to strengthen those technological centres performing applied research in Spain. The project, labelled “Cervera Agromatter Cluster” intends to reuse agricultural waste, which is abundantly generated in Spain, in order to develop high- added value biomaterials, within the Circular Economy framework. Researchers will develop new plastic materials, bio-based or enhanced with agricultural waste, which then will be employed the automotive, packaging or food industries. The awarding of the Agromatter project is very relevant for Andaltec, as this inclusion in the most important R&D scheme for Spanish technological organisations also implies Andaltec’s certification as a Technological Centre for Excellence
The Cervera Agromatter Cluster, formed by five Technological Centres working closely in the agricultural, biotechnological and materials science areas, seeks to establish a network of Technological Centres for scientific-technical Excellence, always within a Circular Economy framework applied to the development of bio-based materials for technical applications. This cluster’s main goal is to reach the status of reference R&D centres at national and international level, so that it will lead to an increase in the number of R&D projects, and to technology transference actions towards companies.
This project is funded by the Spanish centre for industrial technological development (Ministry of Science and Innovation), thanks to the grants directed to Technological Centres for Excellence “Cervera” CER-20211013. The Cervera Cluster is made up by the Association for Research in the Textile Industry (Aitex), Technological Centre for Plastics (Andaltec), National Agrifood Technological Centre in Extremadura (CTAEX) and the Technological Institute for Packaging, Transport and Logistics (Itene).
The consolidation of this Cluster of Technological Centres is also going to enhance the technological and research capabilities of its members. In order to achieve this goal, the Cluster has laid a series of challenges to accomplish between 2021 and 2023. The first stage of the Agromatter project will deal with the extraction, synthesis and transformation or agricultural waste into high-added value biomaterials. Thus, it will be optimised the sustainable extraction processes of target compounds for the development of biodegradable materials with a lesser environmental impact from agrifood by-products. It will also be carried out the escalation of extraction processes at an industrial level, as well as an enhancement of the production process of textile fibre “Agromatter”. In addition, it will be optimised the transformation processes of monomers and other biocomposites in order to obtain bioplastics to be employed in the processes of fibre fusion spinning, cast and blown film extrusion, as well as for injection/thermoforming moulding in packaging.
The second stage will involve the participating centres developing the Agromatter solutions for the target markets. Therefore, they will optimise the application process of textile fibre in the creation of materials such as paper, textiles and composites. Besides, they will improve the performance when faced with fire of bio-based materials derived from revalorisation of vegetal organic material. The researchers will also optimise the manufacturing process of new plastic materials, bio-based or enhanced with first or second-generation agricultural waste, which then will be employed in the automotive, packaging or food industry sectors. Finally, the project will also improve the implementation process of functional active principles within the functionalisation of Agromatter materials.