Innovation

REDYSIGN will go beyond the state of the art in 4 fields of development: efficient processes for transformation of wood into FBP, fresh food packaging from wood-derived products, technologies to enhance Smart Food Packaging and efficient recycling and upcycling technologies for contaminated FBP

01

Efficient processes for transformation of wood into FBP

The retrieval of wood constituents (such as cellulose fibres, lignin, sugars, etc.) using existing methods involves energy-demanding procedures and often relies on substantial quantities of harmful chemicals.

The thermomechanical method of producing pulp is probably the least polluting process, although it necessitates a significant energy input. Current research is being conducted to explore the potential of utilising specialised enzymes to decrease energy consumption in this context.

In addition, a novel mechanochemical technique has been devised to highly efficiently fractionate wood biomass into its valuable constituents, which can be utilised to produce innovative, environmentally friendly products.

wood

REDYSIGN contribution

The project aims to achieve several notable technological advancements in the transformation of wood into fibre-based packaging (FBP). These advancements include:

  • Enzymatic treatments on softwood chips with the aim of reducing 20% the energy consumed in the production of pulp.
  • New processes to obtain wood-derived compounds of high purity that can be integrated into different parts of fresh meat packaging.
  • Technologies for fibre treatment with low water consumption, avoiding the generation of large amounts of toxic effluents, and with high energy efficiency.

02

Fresh food packaging from wood-derived products

Moulded pulp

Lignocellulosic moulded pulp has emerged as a highly interesting bio-based and biodegradable alternative to plastic-based products and is progressively replacing them in some food applications. The production of food trays, however, involves usage of large amounts of water, which also implies a high energy consumption in the drying process. Moreover, it usually contains some petrochemically-based additives which can potentially limit recyclability of the trays.

REDYSING develops technologies to produce a new plastic-free tray. The employed technologies are designed to significantly decrease water usage by 70% and reduce energy consumption by as much as 80%.

Barrier coating

The low barrier properties and low water and oil resistance of lignocellulosic moulded pulp are insufficient to protect the food from ambient conditions. Typically, a polymeric film is laminated onto the tray to confer those needed barrier properties.

REDYSING develops new bio-based barrier coatings able to fulfil barrier requirements without compromising the recyclability of the tray.

Absorbent pads

Absorbing pads are deposited inside the tray to retain the liquids leaked from fresh meat during storage and delivery. In most cases they are manufactured entirely out of a combination of polymers and those few based on cellulose fibres incorporate bonding agents and/or polymeric films, which make it difficult to recycle them.

REDYSING explores two approaches to produce fully recyclable absorbing pads: one unique airlaids bonding technology that eliminates the need for adhesives, and an innovative ice-templating process able to produce binder-free porous structures entirely made of cellulose fibres.

Smart flexible film

Current solutions utilize multicomponent plastic films that are non-recyclable. Films made of cellulose nanofibres have been shown to display oxygen and grease barrier properties. Yet, they still lack resistance to liquid water and water vapor.

REDYSIGN designs flexible films based on lignocellulosic micro- and nanofibres (LCMNF) for FBP which provide excellent oxygen and grease barrier properties, but also water vapor barrier and hydrophobicity properties necessary for fresh meat. In addition, food spoilage and cold -chain monitoring is achieved by direct film printing of smart electronic labels developed by the project.

03

Technologies to enhance FBP recycling process

Identification markers and waste sorting

Lignocellulosic moulded pulp has emerged as a highly interesting bio-based and biodegradable alternative to plastic-based products and is progressively replacing them in some food applications. The production of food trays, however, involves usage of large amounts of water, which also implies a high energy consumption in the drying process. Moreover, it usually contains some petrochemically-based additives which can potentially limit recyclability of the trays.

REDYSING uses new technology to produce identification markers that will be integrated in the different FBP components allowing their efficient identification and sorting.

Novel spectral multi-sensor based automated quality assessment system

Although some commercially available sensors for in-line determination of chemical compositions are being currently applied in certain industrial sectors, the complete integration of digitalisation for tracking recovered food packaging resources has not yet been achieved.

REDYSING designs a novel multi-sensor automated quality assessment system and applies in-line and real-time characterization of FBP waste streams. It enables a comprehensive and continuous characterization of the materials and contributes to the generation of large amounts of data for an enhanced traceability approach.

Quality control strategy with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) models have not been implemented yet in processes for food packaging recovery. Nevertheless, ‘multimodal deep learning’ is a new concept applicable for the enhancement of complex multichannel (multi-sensor) applications.

REDYSING utilises advanced artificial intelligence techniques to analyse large amounts of data from the in-line quality system. The reliability connected to the comprehensive characterization of wastes provides more robust predictive algorithms for a superior quality assessment and traceability model.

04

Efficient recycling and upcycling technologies for contaminated FBP

Food packaging materials are often contaminated with organic residues when they reach their end-of-life. This situation is especially problematic in FBP, as the presence of those substances hampers its recycling. This condition prevents the recycling of significant amounts of FBP which, otherwise, would get reintroduced in the pulp-paper-packaging value chain.

meat_cropped

REDYSIGN contribution

REDYSIGN implements novel processes for efficient recycling and upcycling of contaminated FBP through the development of new advanced oxidative and enzyme-assisted treatments to tailor the recycled fibres properties to the requirements of food FBP and to valorise the recalcitrant fractions.

01

Efficient processes for transformation of wood into FBP

The isolation of wood constituents (such as cellulose fibres, lignin, sugars, etc.) using existing methods involves energy-demanding procedures and often relies on substantial quantities of harmful chemicals.

The thermomechanical method of producing pulp is probably the least polluting process, although it necessitates a significant energy input. Current research is being conducted to explore the potential of utilising specialised enzymes to decrease energy consumption in this context.

In addition, a novel mechanochemical technique has been devised to highly efficiently fractionate wood biomass into its valuable constituents, which can be utilised to produce innovative, environmentally friendly products.

wood

REDYSIGN contribution

  • Enzymatic treatments on softwood and hardwood chips with the aim of reducing 20% the energy consumed in the production of pulp.
  • New processes to obtain wood-derived compounds of high purity that can be integrated into different parts of fresh meat packaging.
  • Technologies for fibre treatment with low water consumption, avoiding the generation of large amounts of toxic effluents, and with high energy efficiency.

02

Fresh food packaging from wood-derived products

Moulded pulp

Lignocellulosic moulded pulp has emerged as a highly interesting bio-based and biodegradable alternative to plastic-based products and is progressively replacing them in some food applications. The production of food trays, however, involves usage of large amounts of water, which also implies a high energy consumption in the drying process. Moreover, it usually contains some petrochemically-based additives which can potentially limit recyclability of the trays.

REDYSING develops technologies to produce a new plastic-free tray. The employed technologies are designed to significantly decrease water usage by 70% and reduce energy consumption by as much as 80%.

Barrier coating

The low barrier properties and low water and oil resistance of lignocellulosic moulded pulp are insufficient to protect the food from ambient conditions. Typically, a polymeric film is laminated onto the tray to confer those needed barrier properties.

REDYSING develops new bio-based barrier coatings able to fulfil barrier requirements without compromising the recyclability of the tray.

Absorbent pads

Absorbing pads are deposited inside the tray to retain the liquids leaked from fresh meat during storage and delivery. In most cases they are manufactured entirely out of a combination of polymers and those few based on cellulose fibres incorporate bonding agents and/or polymeric films, which make it difficult to recycle them.

REDYSING explores two approaches to produce fully recyclable absorbing pads: one unique airlaids bonding technology that eliminates the need for adhesives, and an innovative ice-templating process able to produce binder-free porous structures entirely made of cellulose fibres.

Smart flexible film

Current solutions utilize multicomponent plastic films that are non-recyclable. Films made of cellulose nanofibres have been shown to display oxygen and grease barrier properties. Yet, they still lack resistance to liquid water and water vapor.

REDYSIGN designs flexible films based on lignocellulosic micro- and nanofibres (LCMNF) for FBP which provide excellent oxygen and grease barrier properties, but also water vapor barrier and hydrophobicity properties necessary for fresh meat. In addition, food spoilage and cold -chain monitoring is achieved by direct film printing of smart electronic labels developed by the project.

03

Technologies to enhance Smart Food Packaging

Identification markers and waste sorting

Identification and sorting of packaging materials at the waste management plant is commonly undertaken by the employment of sensor-based near-infrared (NIR) technology. Near-infrared (NIR) technology utilises the inherent properties of materials to identify them, however it is unable to detecting any internal material layers.

REDYSING uses new technology to produce identification markers that will be integrated in the different FBP components allowing their efficient identification and sorting.

Novel spectral multi-sensor based automated quality assessment system

Although some commercially available sensors for in-line determination of chemical compositions are being currently applied in certain industrial sectors, the complete integration of digitalisation for tracking recovered food packaging resources has not yet been achieved.

REDYSING designs a novel multi-sensor automated quality assessment system and applies in-line and real-time characterization of FBP waste streams. It enables a comprehensive and continuous characterization of the materials and contributes to the generation of large amounts of data for an enhanced traceability approach.

Quality control strategy with AI

Artificial Intelligence (AI) models have not been implemented yet in processes for food packaging recovery. Nevertheless, ‘multimodal deep learning’ is a new concept applicable for the enhancement of complex multichannel (multi-sensor) applications.

REDYSING utilises advanced artificial intelligence techniques to analyse large amounts of data from the in-line quality system. The reliability connected to the comprehensive characterization of wastes provides more robust predictive algorithms for a superior quality assessment and traceability model.

04

Efficient recycling and upcycling technologies for contaminated FBP

Food packaging materials are often contaminated with organic residues when they reach their end-of-life. This situation is especially problematic in FBP, as the presence of those substances hampers its recycling. This condition prevents the recycling of significant amounts of FBP which, otherwise, would get reintroduced in the pulp-paper-packaging value chain.

meat

REDYSIGN contribution

REDYSIGN implements novel processes for efficient recycling and upcycling of contaminated FBP through the development of new advanced oxidative and enzyme-assisted treatments to tailor the recycled fibres properties to the requirements of food FBP and to valorise the recalcitrant fractions.

The project is supported by the Circular Bio-based Europe Joint Undertaking and its members. Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or CBE JU. Neither the European Union nor the CBE JU can be held responsible for them.

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