R&D and Technology

IFMAS starts R&D for Plant-Based Polymers and Bio-Plastics

Two IEEDs (Institutes for energy transition and plant based chemistry) were approved for France under Nicolas Sarkozy’s presidency in 2010 and 2011 respectively: ”PIVERT” a consortium of private companies and public research labs led by Sofiproteol and dedicated to oil plant based chemistry and “IFMAS”, a similar consortium led by Roquette, dedicated to sugar plant based chemistry.

IFMAS, standing for French Institute of Materials Agro-sources, officially launched the start of development of its future building on the Science Park of Villeneuve d’Ascq in the North of France.

From ten people today, the IFMAS teams will comprise a hundred researchers and academics, PhD students and post-docs in 2015. The projected building will have a modern and efficient structure of 2,400 m2 for the research, application development and training in sugar plant based chemistry organized in 6 laboratories on 3 levels 800 m2. These six labs will be devoted to:

  • organic synthesis
  • polymer synthesis
  • bio-plastics
  • paints and coatings
  • structural characterization of materials
  • analytical studies.

Researchers will conduct R&D projects aimed at enhancing plant based resources for the development of plant-based plastics and composites and bio-based paints and coatings. The whole building will also house the applicative development activities and application development training of the members of the IFMAS consortium. (private businesses, technical centers, public research institutes, etc..).

The creation of IEED IFMAS has been financed by private and public funds, the latter channeled through  ANR, The National Research Agency as part of the “Invest for the Future” national program initiated under President Sarkozy and ERDF, the European Fund for Economic and Regional Development. IFMAS has been accredited by the French government in March 2012 then by the European Commission and was granted a total of €30.6 million of public funds .

The purpose of the IEED is to set-up a limited number of innovation technology centres able to acquire a critical mass with a global influence on carbon free energy systems, climate change dampening technologies and green chemistry.

IFMAS is expected to have socio-economic benefits in the North region including local agriculture, chemical industries, as well as paint, coatings and plastics industries. Results from research at IFMAS are expected to remove technological barriers and facilitate the emergence of  an innovative plant based chemistry characterized by  higher added values, greater accountability, better raw materials and energy efficiency and less impact on the environment.

IFMAS fits well with the French and EU objectives of a more sustainable development, less dependency on crude oil and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions for the industry at large.


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