Winners of the innovation award “Renewable Material of the Year 2021”

The Renewable Materials Conference that took place virtually on 18 – 20 May, witnessed a firework of innovations of non-fossil material solutions and voted for the winners of the innovation award. The conference advisory board selected six companies from 36 innovative and excellent submissions – all 36 are listed individually in the conference journal – to showcase their technologies and applications to the audience.

The three winners are from the Netherlands (Plantics & Vepa), France (Carbios) and the USA/Switzerland (LanzaTech). They perfectly cover the three renewable carbon options: bio-based (hemp fibre and bio-resin), recycling (enzymatic recycling of PET) and CO2 utilisation (household cleaners).

First place: Plantics (The Netherlands) & Vepa (The Netherlands): Most Sustainable Chair Ever from Hemp Fibres and Thermoset Bioresin
Dutch furniture manufacturer Vepa is the first in the world to launch a collection of chairs with a shell of a unique biomaterial. The used materials hemp fibre and bioresin are both fully biological, plant-based and recyclable. The unique bio-based resin and material are part of a new family of bio-based materials that have been developed by Plantics and is patented worldwide for many different applications. Plantics and Vepa collaborated intensively for two years to turn the biomaterial into a high-quality seat shell. The collection is produced entirely in the Netherlands and currently includes chairs and bar stools. The production process absorbs more CO2 than it emits. In addition, the chairs are designed in such a way that the various parts are easy to separate and materials can be reused endlessly.
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Second place: Carbios (France): First Clear Plastic Bottles from Enzymatically Recycled Textile Waste
Carbios is the first and only company that develops biological processes to revolutionise the end-of-life of plastics and textiles. The mission is to provide an industrial solution to the recycling of PET plastics and textiles. This enzymatic recycling technology deconstructs any type of PET plastic waste into its basic components (monomers) which can then be reused to produce new PET plastics of virgin quality. In 2020, the first transparent plastic bottle from enzymatically recycled polyester textile waste was produced. Mechanical recycling technologies cannot recycle textile waste efficiently. In contrast, this new enzymatic process enables polyester fibres to be “upcycled” to a high-quality grade of PET suitable for the production of clear bottles.
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Third place: LanzaTech (USA/Switzerland): CO2 Recycling for CarbonSmart Cleaning

In 2020, Switzerland’s largest retail company, Migros, and its subsidiary, Mibelle Group, launched a range of liquid cleaning products containing LanzaTech CarbonSmart Ethanol as part of Migros Plus Oeco Power and Potz cleaning ranges. These products are now on sale in Migros supermarkets in Switzerland. The CarbonSmart Ethanol is produced from recycled carbon from steel emissions. The new pathway reduces greenhouse gas emissions and keeps additional fossil resources in the ground, protects biodiversity and avoids land-use change. The significant contribution to sustainability was validated through an independent life cycle analysis and the approach received support from experts at WWF in Switzerland.
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Source: nova-Institut GmbH, 21-05-20