Six companies and four technology centers have launched the BIOVEGE project. Subsidized by CDTI through the Innterconecta program and supported by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, the project aims to dispose of the enormous amounts of horticultural waste generated by the Andalusian garden in the form of high added value products such as sustainable packaging with improved properties , and additives or preservatives for the preparation of healthy foods.
Annually, in Andalusia some 500,000 tons of horticultural by-products are produced that are not in demand in the form of compost, biogas or feed, so that their destination is mainly the landfill. In order to give a second life to these wastes in the form of high added value products, the project in which AIMPLAS participates as technical coordinator proposes two ways of recovery: the extraction of food compounds to obtain food preservatives and bioactive ingredients, and the hydrolyzing of waste to obtain alcohols from their sugars to improve existing bioplastics for use as packaging for the fruit and vegetable products themselves.
Led by Alhóndiga La Unión, the project also involves five other companies such as Torres Morente, Domca, Neol, Ecoplas y Morera and Vallejo, as well as AIMPLAS and three other research centers such as Tecnalia, Cidaf and Las Palmillas Fundación Cajamar. Each of the partners will contribute their knowledge in a phase of the project. From the recovery of waste to the preparation and validation of new packaging and bioactive ingredients.
Edible and superfood coatings
In the case of preservatives and ingredients, the project provides a competitive advantage over the products currently on the market in terms of cost. Bioactive ingredients have a high price, but obtaining them from waste without a market value would solve this problem. The BIOVEGE project foresees the development of natural preservatives in the form of edible coatings as well as the extraction of bioactive ingredients in the form of hydrophobic and lipophilic emulsions in microcapsules that allow the body to assimilate them more easily.
Improved sustainable packaging for fruit and vegetables
On the other hand, BIOVEGE will make it possible to obtain new fatty alcohols from the sugars contained in food residues such as melon, watermelon, cucumber, pepper and zucchini. With them it is expected to obtain new grades of plasticized biopolyesters that allow the elaboration of nets and films for shrink containers intended for the conservation and packaging of the horticultural products themselves, in line with the circular economy policies of the European Union.
AIMPLAS is the Technological Institute of Plastics located in Valencia and is registered in the Register of Technological Centers of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. It belongs to the Spanish Federation of Technological Centers, FEDIT, and to the Network of Technological Institutes of the Valencian Community, REDIT.
AIMPLAS is a non-profit entity whose objective is to act as a technological partner of companies linked to the plastics sector, offering them a comprehensive and personalized solution by coordinating R & D & I projects and technological services (analysis and tests, advice technical, training and competitive and strategic intelligence).