BIO-SUSHY: Pioneering the Future of Bio-based Coatings Applications

In our previous articles, we looked into the health and environmental hazards linked with PFAS and unveiled the framework guiding our project, the Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD).

In this article, we explore some of the possible market applications of the innovative bio-based coatings developed within the BIO-SUSHY project.

 

The Market Need for Bio-based Coatings

The increasing awareness and desire for environmentally friendly products are anticipated to propel the expansion of the bio-based coatings market.

Research indicates a significant rise in consumer inclination toward sustainable brands and a willingness to invest more in “green” products.

This surge is driving the projected growth of the bio-based coatings market, which is expected to increase from €7.81 billion in 2023 to €9.16 billion in 2024, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17.4% [1].

 

Where You’ll See BIO-SUSHY Innovations

Within BIO-SUSHY, we are conducting three pivotal case studies to validate the robustness of our solutions in diverse environments:

  1. Textile
  2. Food trays and packaging
  3. Glass cosmetic packaging

 

Textile Coatings

Figure 1: BIO-SUSHY coatings will possess repellent properties.

Our textile bio-based coatings are utilizing precursor-synthesized sol-gels and functional chemicals.

The application process involves padding, where fabrics are immersed in the liquid formulation, the excess is squeezed out, and curing is done via an oven or UV process. Tailored to various textiles, the success of the pad-coating process hinges on factors like textile type, substrate speed, formulation characteristics, and pressure/speed of the roll coater.

The developed coatings for textiles find diverse applications in markets aimed at enhancing fabric durability, protecting against stains or water, and providing comfort in various conditions.

Some potential application examples are outdoor apparel, sportswear, workwear, medical textiles, military/law enforcement, automotive interiors, home textiles, footwear, industrial uses, and recreational gear.

 

Food Tray Packaging Solutions

Figure 2: Food trays and food packaging usually have PFAS coatings for oil-repellent properties.

BIO-SUSHY introduces bio-based coatings for cellulosic fiber mats used in food trays. Whether it’s cured thermoplastic powder or hybrid sol-gel coating, these coatings are applied through spray or powder deposition on the fiber mat.

The innovative “dry molded fiber method” shapes the mat into a 3D structure, such as a food tray, departing from the conventional “wet pulp” method. This not only enhances sustainability but also ensures the safety of the food contained.

Market applications of our BIO-SUSHY oil and water-repellent coatings for food tray packaging may include fast food, frozen foods, bakery products, microwaveable meals, ready-to-eat items, snacks, condiments, and fresh produce packaging. These novel coatings, preventing leaking and maintaining freshness, allow the conservation of food integrity during storage, transit, and delivery.

 

Glass Cosmetic Packaging

Figure 3: To reduce waste and facilitate reusability of glass packaging, repellent coatings are applied in the inner glass surface. 

Another case study tackled by our project involves glass containers for cosmetics, where a specialized bio-based coating covers the inner surface. This hybrid solution, applied with a uniquely designed long nozzle and small spray head, undergoes a post-curing process.

Leveraging glass-like sol-gel technology, this coating guarantees product quality and content protection for extended shelf life and boasts mechanical durability and low adhesion of fluids.

These innovative bio-based coatings applied in glass cosmetics are crucial for high-end and luxury brands, travel-sized products, and cosmetic gift sets by preventing human health risks associated with PFAS while ensuring the integrity of the contained product and maintaining aesthetic appeal.

 

Validation and Market Uptake

The development of BIO-SUSHY bio-based coatings through thermoplastic powder coatings and hybrid sol-gel technologies will be supported by the Safe and Sustainable by Design (SSbD) and will undergo thorough validation and demonstration by our partners, including IFTH, Materia Nova, and Ecozema.

Moreover, our developed solutions will be backed up by:

  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to compare them with the currently available market alternatives.
  • Social-LCA (S-LCA) and social acceptance strategy to evaluate consumers’ willingness to pay, considering value-added attributes like PFAS-free features and high bio-based content.
  • Certification and standardization.

 

Conclusion

Our goal is to present the market with the first BIO-SUSHY coated material by 2028.

The versatility of our developed bio-based coatings, ready to substitute the widespread use of PFAS, opens up a wide range of possibilities for extending their application beyond our project industrial validations.

BIO-SUSHY developments address the urgent need for PFAS replacement and pave the way for a broader market transition toward a healthier and more sustainable future.

 

References

  1. Bio-Based Coatings Global Market Report. The Business Research Company. [Link]

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