Pure Nature: 100% biobased (BB100)

The main goal of the BB100 project is the development of a process chain towards fully biobased man-made fibre materials. This does not only include the mere processing of biopolymers, but also commonly used additive materials like plasticizers, flame retardants, colorants and nucleation agents. Fully biobased yarns and textile demonstrators will be developed.

The project 'Pure nature: 100% biobased' aims to provide sustainable, non-toxic, and biodegradable alternatives based on renewable raw materials. The project results in the development of fully biobased plasticizers, flame retardants, dyes, stabilizers, adhesives, and nucleating agents. For example, in textiles, color intensity and stability are the most important quality indicators. However, biobased dyes are commercially available to a limited extent and often do not meet quality criteria such as color authenticity.

This project focuses on developing natural dyes from marine organisms (such as algae) and agricultural crops which (amongst others) contain sorghum and onion peels. The developed additives will be tested in the laboratory in which different combinations are applied via compounding (mixing in molten state), extrusion (spinning into fibers in molten state), coating, finishing and dyeing. After analysis of the developed compounds and textile fibers, an evaluation will be made to identify the most suitable chemical technology to develop fully (100%) biobased textile products in large scale. In addition, these processes are being up-scaled to a pilot scale to allow various companies to develop fully biobased tufted carpet, clothing, bedding and non-woven carpet backing. Lastly, the biobased additives, fibers, and applications are examined for their environmental impact in the various development stages by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA).

This project is a collaboration between:

  • Maastricht University
  • Avans University of Applied Science
  • Centexbel
  • HZ University of Applied Sciences
  • De Saedeleir Textile Platform
  • HemCell

Current activities

Besides being the project leader, AMIBM is leading the work package related to the development of renewable nucleating agents and adhesives. These nucleating agents, derived from renewable resources, are designed such to dissolve in a biopolymer melt during extrusion. Upon cooling, these organic molecules crystallize from the polymer melt, in turn enhancing the nucleation rate of the polymer melt.

The samples are cooled from 200 °C to 140 °C at a rate 30 °C. In the pure PLA, nothing happens during this time-frame. However, over time, slowly a few PLA nuclei are forming that grow into large spherulites. In contrast, for the sample containing BHET, the generation of a tree-like network is observed during cooling from 200 °C to 140 °C. Immediately after, nucleation and crystal growth of the PLA is observed resulting in the growth of many, small PLA spherulites.

The project “Puur natuur: 100% biobased” is financed within the Interreg V program Flanders-Netherlands, the cross-border cooperation program with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund. More info: www.grensregio.eu.