BioInnovation, the Swedish strategic innovation programme financed by Vinnova, has granted a consortium of PulPac, Nordic Barrier Coating, and OrganoClick additional funding to continue developing 100% bio-based, plastic- and PFAS-free barriers for food packaging applications.

Th project focuses on integrating commercially scalable and sustainable water and/or grease-resistant barriers for PulPac’s specialised Dry Molded Fiber technology, which involves dry moulding cellulose to create packaging and single-use items. The research and development consortium is apparently targeting challenging packaging applications for Dry Molded Fiber.

As part of the consortium, OragnoClick has been tasked with developing the barrier coating material. Nordic Barrier Coating then uses this material in the production of nonwoven materials that are used in PulPac’s dry moulding processes.

Last year, the consortium claimed that extensive tests of the barrier coatings with new application methods and materials demonstrated the potential of these reportedly biodegradable and food-grade solutions for more complex applications. Now, the consortium has been given financial support to continue developing the coatings.

Viktor Börjesson, chief partnership officer at PulPac comments: “We are very proud about the breakthroughs achieved within BioInnovation with our partners.

“The combined performance in OrganoClick’s chemistry and scalability coupled with NBC’s dynamic ability to form specialized materials makes this a very important project.

“Dry Molded Fiber is disrupting fibre forming, making it possible to manufacture paper packaging without wasting valuable water resources or energy and significantly reducing CO2, at unit economics that are very competitive. These solutions are plastic-free, biodegradable and recyclable – very important qualities to our customers.”

Dan Blomstrand, VP of biocomposites at OrganoClick AB, adds: “We are very eager to continue building on the breakthroughs reached in step one of this BioInnovation program.

“The potential markets being enabled in packaging and single-use products with our 100% biobased and home compostable coating and binder products for Dry Molded Fiber by PulPac are enormous.”

Urban Winberg, CEO at Nordic Barrier Coating AB, concludes: “The delicate art of designing materials and combining functions from OrganoClick’s chemistry adapted for Dry Molded Fiber has yielded very exciting opportunities as shown in last year’s breakthroughs.

“We can now invest in infrastructure and industrial capacity to commercially pilot the solutions discovered, and to cater to Dry Molded Fiber’s global uptake.”

This year, PulPac’s Dry Molded Fiber technology has been used to launch fibre-based coffee cup lids with water and oil barriers, and to unveil paper lids used on tubs for the printing industry in partnership with Sandicore.

In addition, demand for PFAS-free packaging like the barrier coatings being developed by the consortium is rising. This may increase further if legislation is introduced on these ‘forever chemicals’ due to concerns that they do not break down in the environment and that they are linked to human health conditions.