Sidel was one of several, select private sector and public partners in the programme, which was originally launched in 2006 by international French biorefining group, Roquette, a global leader in the processing of plant-based raw materials, and subsidised by BPI France, the French agency for industrial innovation. Sidel’s expertise at its Octeville-based centre of excellence brought the company’s many years’ experience in the field of beverage and liquid food packaging – and in the industrial production of PET packaging – to the project. The company’s knowhow regarding complete line solutions that starts with the blow moulding process in bottling of beverages, oils and other liquids was particularly useful to the project, as was its viewpoint as an end user of the potential new bio-based performance plastics within the beverage industry.
Luc Desoutter, Sidel’s Special Project Director, said: “Sidel has a longstanding relationship with Roquette and Sidel’s R&D Packaging experts in Octeville in particular contributed with important and innovative PET packaging expertise in this breakthrough project. I am convinced that the innovative materials resulting from the project will soon be adding value to the already substantial benefits that PET offers as a liquid packaging solution, in terms of both performance and sustainability.
BioHub was an open innovation programme aimed at enabling the development and production of new chemicals using renewable agriculture materials, such as cereals which are a sustainable substitute for well-known fossil-based chemicals. The new bio-based forms of polyester have many possible end-user applications, including packaging.
“Satisfying market needs and providing an alternative to established raw materials, they will be of great interest and benefit to the beverage packaging industry and many others, ”noted Desoutter.
Vincent Le Guen, Sidel’s Vice President for Packaging, says: “Our understanding of bio-based polymers through our participation in this open innovation programme brings great value to Sidel’s PET packaging expertise in Octeville. It enables us to continue to stay at the forefront of the liquid packaging industry and to be ready to meet the future needs of beverage producers. The close relationships we have with our partners throughout the PET value chain, and also across other industries, is really valuable to Sidel. This helps ensure we stay in contact with the latest industry developments and continue to improve our packaging solutions for beverage producers.”
The successful completion of the BioHub Project – and Sidel’s integral role within it – can lead to the production of new bio-based forms of polyester demonstrating excellent transparency and UV resistance and a good resistance to high temperatures. Leading names within the beverage industry, such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Danone and Nestlé, are looking into the possibility of bottles made from fully renewable resources and are said to be already assessing the most promising options to incorporate these next-generation materials into their production lines. For example, Coca-Cola recently unveiled PlantBottle™, a PET bottle based on plant materials.