Bio-on and Innova Imagen (Himes Group) have entered into an agreement to collaborate on the industrial production of PHA bioplastic using Bio-on’s proprietary technology and based on local feedstock resources.
Under the agreement, which was announced 19 February, Bio-on, headquartered in Bologna, Italy, grants to Innova Imagen, a Monterrey, Mexico – based member of the Himes Group, the exclusive right to design and develop the first plant in Mexico for the production of PHA, a biobased, biodegradable bioplastic obtained from agro-industrial residues and by-products.
The agreement provides for a period of 18 months in which Innova Imagen can evaluate the business initiative, i.e. the use of Bio-on’s technologies in Mexico.
For Bio-on, the agreement is worth half a million euros, the first of its kind in Central-North American region, the company said.
The companies will start the collaboration over the coming weeks. The first step will involve assessing the various types of feedstock l available in Mexico, including wastes from the agave processing industry. Different scenarios for the industrial plant will be examined based on the different raw materials to be valorised and the market segments to be addressed. As Innova Imagen is active in the manufacture and merchandising of apparel, particular attention will be given to the textile and fashion industry.
According to Rogelio Himes, co-Founder and CSO of Innova Imagen, the potential use of PHA in the textile and fashion industry attracted the company’s attention because of their possibility to replace synthetic fibres, such as polyester – “one of the largest sources of pollution of our oceans caused by microfiber shredding when the clothes are washed and become in contact with our ecosystems and remain for centuries just as many of the existing plastics”.
The tasks related to the engineering and business plan will be implemented by both teams while the ENG (Engineering) and RAF (Recovery And Fermentation) Bio-on units will work on the development and improvements of synergies and interconnections between the future PHA plant and other possible production sites in the geographical area.
Driven by burgeoning consumer demand for eco-sustainable products, as well as by brand-owners’ commercial strategies and the emerging regulations around the world banning traditional plastics, the market for PHA is one that can only grow.
«The PHA revolution is already a reality “, said Marco Astorri, President and CEO of Bio-on.
All bioplastics developed by Bio-on (PHAs or polyhydroxyalkanoates and PHBs or polyhydroxybutyrate) are obtained from renewable plant and lipid sources without any competition with food supply chains.