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The First Bioplastic Millionaire

Did we Witness the First Bioplastic Millionaire?

Did a day-time robbery took place on the Bioplastic Market? Did we witness the first Bioplastic Millionaire around Thursday 25th of July?

Did a few investors made the biggest hold up in the history of biotech? Did a few US-based investors made a fortune on the back of hard working Italian Biotech Firm Bio-on?

If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck. An image says a thousand words. Look at the graph of the stock value of Bio-On.

Shall we call this Wild West Liberalism? Spaghetti Western capitalism? A modern-day hold up? What will the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission do about this? Not much as Bio-On is not listed on Wall Street but on the Italian Stock market.

The main question is: what will the Italian government do about this?

Italian Firms such as Bio-on and Novamont are at the forefront of technological innovations. They’re the technological leaders of the bioplastics industry. But if the Italian government doesn’t pay attention to its national assets, it may well turn into Baggio missing a world cup penalty … again!

Here’s more info from Bio-On:

BOLOGNA, July 29 2019 – Bio-on SpA, company listed on the AIM segment of Borsa Italiana and operating in the high-quality bioplastics sector, announces that it has published at this link the authoritative video testimony of Professor Paolo Galli, among the most influential scientists of the plastic industry in the world, as well as one of the two Italian chemists present in the Plastics Hall of Fame together with Giulio Natta (Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1963), awarded with numerous and important awards, such as the Herman F. Mark Medal in Vienna, the Bayern Medal in Germany, the Russian Academy of Sciences, the Georgofili Academy, which declared:

“Plastics are the workhorse of humanity, today we cannot live without plastic materials. We also need to give them this property, the one that really degrades itself because the products currently on the market that are so called biodegradable actually are not biodegradable or not in a remarkable way.

This high molecular weight polymeric PHA has a non-linear but outlined polypropylene type structure, and reminds polypropylene in its properties very much. Polypropylene is a perfect material but it is not biodegradable, now we are able to make the new polypropylene which also has the characteristic of biodegradability. Certainly, fundamentally, absolutely biodegradable. Around this, there are tons of publications that confirm it and this cannot be doubted. This is what the best plastic materials lacked, now we can also measure the durability. As a scientist, I have always dreamed of such a product, now I see windows of possibilities and I find this future very stimulating, I think it will open up new doors to the use of plastics in our lives and in everyday life”.

And at this link the equally authoritative video testimony of Professor Paola Fabbri, PHD in Materials Engineering, Associate Professor of the University of Bologna – Department of Chemical, Environmental and Materials Engineering, as well as Key Senior Expert in BIOSPRI Tender Study on the most promising innovative bio-based products, carried out for the European Commission DG RTD (2016-2018), which declared:

“PHAs are not new materials in the sense ‘recently introduced or discovered’, they are materials that, although discovered decades ago, have not found a concrete implementation at industrial level for several reasons until recently: the technologies were not fully mature, but also the times and the awareness was not ripe. What has changed enormously since the previous eras with the arrival of Bio-On technologies has been the possibility of actually implementing the production of PHA powder from biotechnological processes on a very large scale and on an industrial scale, from which the formulations are then obtained, the pellets, for large-scale industrial applications.

In these few years Bio-On has succeeded in making this leap by optimizing all the stages that I mentioned earlier and succeeding thanks to the availability of large quantities of raw material coming both from the pre-industrial plant and now from the industrial plant, has managed to develop all those solutions that allow you to go and test the effectiveness of these materials for very large-scale sectors.

I expect that in the next few decades achievements will be reached with the new bioplastics that are really unthinkable, I say this because we have already achieved results that only two, three or four years ago we considered as completely dreams in terms of industrial applications of PHAs. We tried ourselves to recreate a background, a competence that could be first and foremost available to Bio-On, to improve and optimize their materials and implement them, but also gradually with industrial partners who need to try and test these on their own technologies these materials. This type of interaction has actually allowed us to test the performance, the workability, the processability of these materials on different technologies, and as I said we are constantly surprised and amazed in positive by the results that we have been able to achieve.

When I hear of reduced or modest possibilities of PHA transformation on industrial machines I always ask to the other side what recent personal experience he had of transforming these types of materials and on which plants because I, who have a concrete experience on usage of these machines materials, I certainly have an impression of new, developing materials that have enormous need for further investment in research and implementation. It is surprising that they are materials that are proposed on very large-scale materials and that at present have costs that are not comparable with commonly used plastics, but I am not surprised at all. We are really at the beginning, in an embryonic phase of what will be an implementation. In the meantime, we must wait for a complete acceptance by the market of these materials for their valorisation.

Biodegradability, bio-based content are functionalities of materials, so if we are willing to pay one more technical grade than another, because it has an extra functionality, what is surprising is that we pay more a technical grade that has several additional features compared to traditional grades.

It should not come as a surprise that in an early stage of developing a market for new plastics, there is little else available to test, everything is starting and above all there is still not a huge amount of data in circulation, because this huge book is under construction

On the characteristics of the “platform product” of the Bio-on PHA, Professor Fabbri continues:

“We started from a material known in literature whose properties were known on the small scale, on the scale of milligrams. Almost all the literature that was available in 2007, when we started working together, was on studies that were based on hundreds of milligrams or a few grams of material and there was absolutely no talk of a compound which means talking about plastics for industrial uses. It was a world to be created in which we gradually managed to overcome the limits that we ourselves did not imagine”.

On the possibility of using the PHA as a replacement for existing materials, or to conceive new types of materials, Professor Fabbri adds:

“When we say that PHAs can replace so many types of plastics, if read in a literal sense it is clear that this is not what we are saying. This is not the way to consider the potential of a new material. In the world, we are surrounded by different plastics, say that PHA can replace many different types of plastics does not mean they can replace themselves in the sense of simultaneously mimic all the properties of the other plastics, otherwise they would be that other plastic. There are so many conventional transformation technologies, the industrial ones that are commonly used, that we are understanding are perfectly capable of working PHAs with excellent results and we obtain objects from small and extremely functional to large furnishings that have properties that are necessarily different from the standard ones, otherwise what would be the evolution and implementation of new plastics.”.

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