1.2 million for research into bio-plastics from sugar
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1.2 million for research into bio-plastics from sugar

  • 26 November 2020

Over the next three years, the University of Groningen (RUG) and various companies and knowledge institutes will conduct research into how bioplastics can be made from sugar in an efficient way, so that the price will be comparable to that of plastics from fossil fuels. The province of Groningen, the province of Drenthe and the Samenwerkingsverband Noord-Nederland (SNN) are jointly supporting the initiative with a grant of almost 1.2 million euros. 

The researchers are developing a new method for processing sugar from sugar beet into components for green chemistry. They feed the sugar to bacteria that produce the components in anaerobic fermentation processes without the need for oxygen. This anaerobic fermentation is simpler and cheaper than traditional fermentation with oxygen.

Green chemistry

Research leaders Professors Gert-Jan Euverink (Professor of Biotechnology, RUG) and Johan Sanders (Director Sanovations BV): "Our aim is for northern companies to be able to produce a biobased plastic as a semi-finished product on a commercial scale in the future. This bio-based plastic can be used in many different ways, including in the packaging industry. For example, we are creating a network in green chemistry, which starts with the cultivation of sugar beet and ends in high-grade plastic applications".

Environment and economy

If the research shows that plastic from sugar can compete with plastic from fossil fuels, this could be a huge boost for the environment and the northern economy. If successful, the project could create 60 to 85 new jobs in a subsequent phase.


Source: Rijksuniversiteit Groningen