Call4BP Re-paper

Programma di ricerca: UNIBO

Research areas: Agricultural chemistry, pedology and agricultural genetics

Scientific officer:
Ilaria Braschi

12 months

Research groups:
Ilaria Braschi, Enrico Buscaroli

Project manager:  Valeria Bregola

In paper-based food packaging, the currently available technologies to reduce the migration of organic contaminants to food are based on the addition of plastic, aluminum or activated carbon barriers. In all the cases mentioned, the contaminants are not removed from the packaging and dedicated production lines are required, increasing economic and environmental costs. Re-Paper, through the patent family "Use of Mesoporous Silica" (International Patent PCT / IB2017 / 054214 EU-USA-PRC) proposes an innovative solution to remove contaminants from suspended recycled cellulose pulp by using monoliths of grafted mesoporous silica with alkyl functions. This technology adapts to paper recycling industrial process without introducing substantial changes. Specifically, silica is added in the form of a monolith to the cellulosic suspension used to form the paperboard sheet. Thanks to its high affinity for the contaminants of cellulosic packaging (mineral oil hydrocarbons, benzophenones, photoinitiators, phthalates and other potentially toxic and / or carcinogenic substances) it is able to adsorb and remove them from cellulose. The spent monoliths, saturated with hydrocarbons, are easily recoverable from the tanks by means of an appropriately sized sieve, thanks to their excellent buoyancy, and can be heat-regenerated to be reused several times.
At the moment, the technology is validated in the laboratory, and thanks to the funding obtained (PoC Unibo, MISE, Venture Factory Proof of Concept program), technological scale-up will be possible.