Bioplastics: Cleaner World or Bigger Mess - Design News / EETimes Article + Video
Posted by Machines Italia | 25 May 2012
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The annual worldwide demand for fuel required is around 1.5 billion metric tons (and is rapidly increasing). In no way could this need be covered by food crops because the entire planet would not provide sufficient space for the planting required.
Looking at the figures, total corn production worldwide --one of the crops most widely used in the bio-fuel industry-- is 700 million metric tons. Italy produces around 10 million metric tons and cannot even meet the requirements of its human food and animal feed sectors, being forced to import much of its needs.
On the other hand, scientists posited, just 70,000 hectares of corn and 600,000 hectares of oleaginous non-food crops would be sufficient to meet Italy’s total requirements for packaging plastics, amounting to some 2 million metric tons. Considering that Italy’s cultivatable lands come to 15 million hectares, Fertec reasoned that bio-plastics would not adversely affect the food chain and, indeed, might even strengthen it.
Thus, in 1992, the firm decided to focus solely on the creation of bio-materials, changing its name to Novamont in 1994. Today, Novamont is the largest European company producing bioplastics using vegetable components, having invested upward of 120 million euros in developing a broad range of products from vegetable raw materials.
Novamont became a profitable company in 2001 and is currently on track in 2012 to see a turnover of some 200 million euros, with a staff of around 150 people, 30 percent of whom are employed in research and development.
Still today the company consistently reinvests 10 percent of its profits into further R&D at its plant near Turin in Italy.
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