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Bio-on and Gruppo Hera collaborate on carbon dioxide-to-bioplastics undertaking

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Hydrocarbon Engineering,


Bio-on and Gruppo Hera have reached an agreement to take 90% and 10% shares respectively (with the possibility of Hera increasing its share to 49.9%) in Lux-on, the new company founded by Bio-on aiming to produce PHAs biopolymers using CO2 captured from the atmosphere and producing energy without using fossil fuels.

The new technology developed by Bio-on envisages using CO2 as a zero cost raw material, in addition to those already used to produce Bio-on bioplastic: sugar beet and sugar cane molasses, fruit and potato waste, carbohydrates, glycerol and waste frying oil.

Using CO2 will also help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The laboratories and first plant of the new Lux-on project will be built by the end of 2019 close to the Bio-on Plants industrial facility at Castel San Pietro Terme, Bologna, Italy. It will be designed entirely by Bio-on technicians in collaboration with Hera, with carbon capture plants and a production facility using renewable solar energy. The development of the technology will be aided by the fact that many of the principles and equipment used in the standard technology can also be used in Lux-on's new production systems, so the development and pre-industrial phase will be faster than usual. The plant will occupy an area of 1500 m2, 600 m2 of which is covered, and will have a flexible production capacity that is rapidly expandable.

The electric energy used in Lux-on's production process will be produced by photovoltaic systems which, aside from directly powering production, will also provide storable energy for nocturnal power (enabling 24/7 production). For energy storage, partnerships will be entered into with international experts in hydrogen technology. Hydrogen, a non-polluting gas, will be produced from solar energy, stored and then converted to electric energy to power the plant when the solar panels are not running, i.e. at night or when light levels are poor.

The agreement also envisages a second development line aimed at identifying sustainable byproducts for biopolymer production. Renamed PHA-CEL by Hera, this consists in transforming cutting and pruning cellulose into simple sugars that can then be used in fermentation following an enzymatic treatment. This process is made possible by the treatment technology, developed by Gruppo Hera, which is also assessing how to apply it to biogas and biomethane production from cuttings and prunings.

Read the article online at: https://www.hydrocarbonengineering.com/the-environment/13122018/bio-on-and-gruppo-hera-collaborate-on-carbon-dioxide-to-bioplastics-undertaking/

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