On Wednesday, EU representatives are expected to share important results of the LIFE BIOPOL project in a meeting with Ilsa, Codyeco, the Cà Foscari University of Venice, Inpelsa and Dercosa.


(Santa Croce sull'Arno, PI) A few months following its official conclusion, the LIFE BIOPOL project, sponsored by Ilsa, Codyeco as the project leader, the Cà Foscari University of Venice and the Spanish tanneries Dercosa and Inpelsa, has achieved the results that the partners were hoping for. This will be confirmed next Wednesday, i.e. 6 February 2019, in a meeting conducted in the presence of EU representatives.

Launched in 2015 and co-funded by the EU under the 2014–20 LIFE programme, LIFE BIOPOL has demonstrated that is possible to further utilize industrial by-products, otherwise destined for landfills, in order to produce low impact chemicals for the leather sector. Specifically, the partners have studied eco-compatible biopolymers, starting with plant and animal biomasses. The actual pre-industrial phase will be illustrated in the Wednesday meeting.

The new biopolymers represent a valid alternative for the auxiliary products of petrochemical origin, which are widely used in the leather sector at present owing to their easy availability but are characterised by a strong environmental impact. Moreover, the new biopolymers can result in substantial water savings, in an industry where water consumption often represents a bottleneck in production. These biopolymers have already been successfully tested by the Spanish tanneries Dercosa and Inpelsa.

Ilsa R&D has been particularly involved in the first phase of the said project, which started with the identification of plant biomasses (legumes, cereals, cane and sugar beet) and animals (shaving of the wet blue hide) suitable for the synthesis of biopolymers. With eco-sustainable processes of enzymatic hydrolysis to treat biomass and by adhering to the available scientific knowledge in this regard, Ilsa concluded an in-depth study to investigate the effect of various process parameters for different types of enzymes. Afterwards, pilot tests of enzymatic hydrolysis on soya and corn have been carried on, choosing enzymes in relation to their activity, applicability and availability in the market. Ilsa has therefore completed the industrial development of four prototypes, one of animal origin and three of plant origin.

The innovations brought about by LIFE BIOPOL will be shared with the entire European tanning sector, with an aim to develop a low impact and high sustainability tanning industry. To find out more, you can download the brochure by clicking on the following link: http://www.codyeco.it/biopol.html