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Multipurpose bioplastic from soy residues: A pilot plant to Finland

Four companies have collaborated to develop the first process in the world to produce compostable bioplastic from food and feed production side streams. A biopolymer plant will be built in Uusikaupunki, Finland, in which bioplastic production will be piloted on an industrial scale.

Finnfoam, Brightplus, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and Nordic Soya have explored together the possibilities of soy molasses, i.e. soy processing side stream, as a raw material of the future. The research project, partly funded by Business Finland, took four years.

"The process developed as an outcome of this cooperation project is the first in the world to produce an ecological lactic acid polymer from the side streams of soy production. This way we can offer a sustainable alternative to sugar and corn based polylactic acid, i.e. PLA", says Henri Nieminen, CEO of Finnfoam.

Soy molasses, which is not suitable for food, has previously been disposed of by incineration. Producing biomaterials from side streams of food production also improves the food production value chain.

Nordic Soya Oy uses soy grown in Europe in its Uusikaupunki plant. Soy molasses left over from its processing has been used as the raw material in the research.

This Finnish innovation combines synthetic biology, chemistry and material technology in a completely new way.

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