BIOTHOP: BioTWINE hop waste transformation into novel product assortments for packaging and horticulture sector.
Program: LIFE18 ENV/SI/000056 –LIFE-BIOTHOP
Duration: 36 months, June 2019 – June 2022
Partners: The Slovenian Institute of Hop Research and Brewing (IHPS), Lankhorst Yarns, Zelfo Technology , TECNOPACKAGING, TRIDAS, TECOS – Slovenian tool and Die Development Centre, Development Agency Savinja,
Target: On the European level, there are 50.000 tonnes of hops produced on a surface of 26.500 ha. Slovenia produces nearly 2.800 tonnes on 1.590 ha annually and is currently ranked as the 3rd EU’s largest hop producer, and the 5th in the world. The hop agricultural sector is the largest exporter in agricultural segment in Slovenia, therefore it also has a great meaning for Slovenia’s international visibility. During the hop harvest, the entire above-ground mass of plants is removed from the field, and after the cones are harvested, the rest of the biomass (leaves and vines) are left behind. They are a valuable source of organic matter and nutrients for returning to agricultural areas. However, the problem is a synthetic polypropylene twine (PP), which is used as a support for hop plants during growth, as it remains intertwined in hop biomass after harvest and does not decompose by composting, thus preventing the use of this biomass as raw material and at the same time poses an environmental problem.
The aim of the this project is to replace the PP twine on the hop fields with the biotwine made of renewable material polylactic acid (PLA), that can be degraded by composting to simple monomers (H20, CO2 and biomass). Hop plant biomass after harvest can be used as main ingredient of composting and afterwards used as a natural fertiliser or material to produce biodegradable products (bio-composites, planting pots, and packaging trays). Therefore, the agro-waste can be drastically reduced and the economy of the sold agro-waste to bioplastic producers can be increased. The demo region, which is Lower Savinja valley in Slovenia, will be an example of good practice for all hop-growing regions not only in EU but also across the world. The project will also benefit in socio-economic value as it can improve the green or so called eco-tourism. The goal is to follow the circular economy and resource efficiency and to completely upcycle the hop waste in hop production and to improve energetic efficiency by 25 % by using the biopolymeric composites. Considering the emission of the greenhouse gasses there should be a great reduction compared to conventional plastic production.
The BioTHOP project has received funding from the European Union under gran agreement: LIFE18 ENV/SI//000056