INGREEN – driving force for the bioeconomy

This EU-funded project focuses on the use of new bio-based products to create innovative connections between different sectors, such as the food, pharmaceutical, cosmetic and feed sectors, and thus setting new regulatory basis for the results obtained for the circular economy.
 
In June 2019, it was launched by an international consortium of seventeen partners. This new European project aims to make an important contribution to the challenges posed at the scientific, economic and social level by the circular economy. Focusing on the conversion of waste and by-products from the agro-food industry and paper mills into new bio-based ingredients to be used by the industrial sector. 

The challenges of the bioeconomy
The bioeconomy is an economic and cultural model that aims to convert, with innovative and efficient industrial biotechnology technologies, the biological and renewable resources produced by industries into new raw materials. The challenge that INGREEN will focus on is to generate new bio-based value chains between very distant sectors: from the food, feed and cosmetics sectors to the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical and packaging sectors. Another objective is to increase society’s knowledge and awareness of the benefits and opportunities of the circular economy.

According to the scientific coordinator, Professor Rosalba Lanciotti from the Department of Agro-Food Sciences and Technologies of the University of Bologna, “INGREEN will generate five new value chains and multiple interconnections between different industrial sectors and innovative and functional bio-based products, responding in safety and quality to the most stringent European regulations. The definition of new standards and requirements for the new categories of ingredients and products will also be a result of INGREEN, which will be fundamental for the creation of a new regulatory basis for bio-based products “.

New ingredients and new products
INGREEN, in fact, aims to enhance whey, wheat and rye bran, and paper milling wastewater, transforming them into bio-based ingredients, through sustainable and industrially validated biotechnological processes. These ingredients can thus be reused, in an industrial environment, for the production of new high-quality food, feed, nutraceutical, cosmetic or pharmaceutical prototypes, These may be more sustainable and more effective than the reference products on the market today.
 
The project also aims to produce, from paper milling wastewaters with very high environmental impact, a completely biodegradable film based on polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) to be used in innovative and environmentally friendly containers, suitable for packaging food, nutraceutical or pharmaceutical products.
 
The Project consortium
INGREEN has been financed with over 6.3 million euros under the Bio-based Industries Joint Undertaking (BBI JU). This is part of the Horizon 2020 program, thanks to the partnership between the European Union and the Bio-based Industries Consortium.

Project coordinator, Narinder Bains (INEUVO Ltd, United Kingdom) and scientific coordinator Rosalba Lanciotti oversee the work of the seventeen partners from different countries, including Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Switzerland, France. The partner represent different sectors with four public research institutes (Unibo, FHNW, Novaid and ITT), four large companies (Smurfit Kappa Italia, Smurfit Kappa France, Barilla and Molino Pivetti) and eight small-medium enterprises ( Mambelli, Ineuvo, Innoven, Avecom, Activatec, Depofarma, Isitec, Tecnopackaging) and the European Federation of Food Science and Technology (EFFoST).

For more information visit the INGREEN website. As the project progresses, we look forward to sharing news on project developments and our research findings. Make sure you don’t miss any updates by signing up for the INGREEN newsletter.

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