Zaragoza has been host to the Final Conference and Presentations of findings and results of this Project, an initiative with a 7.8 million euro budget from the European Commission, with partners from 10 countries under the coordination of the Aragonese Technical Centre Aitiip.
The companies and research centres involved have focused their work on the food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical sectors, and have disseminated the benefits that biopackaging brings to society as a whole.
The Final Conference of the European Dibbiopack project held in Zaragoza, Spain has gathered 19 partners from 10 countries within the European Commission’s Seventh European Framework Agreement. It has primarily aimed at the development of multifunctional smart-packaging from bioplastics (bio-based, compostable and biodegradable) for the 3 most relevant sectors involved in their use: food, cosmetics and pharmaceutical.
The Project has been coordinated by Aitiip Technological Centre. Its final budget was 7.745.570 euros,- 5.702.632 coming from the European Commission. Over a four year period, Dibbiopack has brought together entities and industries from all over Europe, which have delved into the formulation and manufacturing of Smart packaging and materials (bottles for pharmaceutical use, cosmetics and food trays.) Their objective has been to go beyond the regulatory, technological, market and environmental milestones in the bioplastics sector. Research conducted by over 100 people has provided packaging with functionalities that enhance product preservation while reporting on product condition within the packaging itself. By using cutting-edge nanomaterials, bioplastics packaging now presents mechanical and durability properties similar to those found in conventional plastics. Likewise it makes use of biodegradable films with enhanced barrier properties and sensors reporting on product content. The project falls under the umbrella of a circular economy, a proposal by the European Commission at the end of 2015 with financial backing aiming to help companies and citizens make the transition towards a more efficient economy.
The final conference was divided into two. The first part was held at the CaixaForum Congress Centre in Zaragoza. Its institutional opening was chaired by Pilar Alegría, the Regional Government’s Minister for Innovation, Research and Universities of the Autonomous Government of Aragón as well as representatives for the Centre for Industrial Technological Development of the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of the Government of Spain (CDTI) and Aitiip Technological Centre. After their contributions, the partners in the project analysed the impact of their findings and results both on the field of biomaterials and smart and innovative packaging and on the industrial sector. During the second part, those attending the conference had the opportunity to visit the pilot plant at Aitiip Technological Centre´s facilities where the demonstrators were built, in order to become acquainted with all details of their building process and the machinery used and specifically designed for that purpose.
Ms Berta Gonzalvo, Project Coordinator and Head of Research and Development at Aitiip explained its benefits for end-users as “opening endless possibilities, since end-users will be able to see if the products they consume on a daily basis are in optimal condition, while using sustainable multifunctional packaging from environmentally sound and friendly raw materials. As for the future, Ms Gonzalvo pointed out that “our job is not over yet; we are in the process of defining, alongside our partners in the Project, not only those rules necessary to exploit on a commercial scale those findings and results, but also the required intellectual property protection for the processes involved. At any rate, there are products at an early commercialization stage that industries could introduce into the market in the short term, along with others that need further research and development and for which funds from Europe as well as from individual countries are necessary”.
Similarly, Mr Juan Manuel Blanchard, Aitiip’s President, stressed the fact that in Aragón “there is a Technological Centre, highly experienced in innovation management, with capabilities to conduct major research and lead European projects of such importance as this. It can be claimed, therefore, that the path we took was the right one in order to get products that are marketable and enjoy consumer acceptance.”